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Histoplasmosis is an infectious, but non-contagious fungal disease caused by Histoplasma capsulatum. It has reported commonly in birds at zoos, and occasionally in chickens and turkeys. The disease occurs worldwide, however it has been found to be indigenous in areas in the United States bordering the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi rivers.
Chickens become infected by inhaling dust containing H. capsulatum spores. In many cases, birds are concurrently infected with other fungi, usually Aspergillus spp. and have recently undergone some sort of stressful event.
The disease is diagnosed based on three criteria: culture of the organism, histopathology, and histoplasmin sensitivity. The characteristic histopathology is histiocytic to granulomatous inflammation with intracytoplasmic narrow-based budding yeasts measuring 2–4 µm in diameter.
Duc Tan Nguyen, Ivana Bilic, Barbara Jaskulska, Michael Hess, Duc Quyet Le, Luc Ngoc Le Hua, Vu Vy Huynh, Sam Thi Nguyen and Hung Vu-Khac Prevalence and Genetic Characterization of Histomonas meleagridis in Chickens in Vietnam. Avian Dis (2015)
Poor sanitary practices, allowing accumulation of feces in soil.
Presence of bats
Recent stressful event (introduction to a new flock of birds, excessive bullying or fighting among flock members, exposure to extreme heat or cold, poor living conditions, overcrowded conditions, lack of resources such as feed or water, rough handling, predator attack or predator stalking, recent injury or sickness, etc.)