The epidemiology of histoplasmosis duboisii (African histoplasmosis) is not well understood. The present study was carried out to investigate the prevalence of skin sensitivity and to determine by immunodiffusion the presence of antibodies among humans to histoplasmin around a recently discovered natural focus of Histoplasma capsulatum var. duboisii in a bat cave in Ogbunike in the Anambra State of Nigeria. Out of the 40 subjects, all young adults aged 18-30 years, comprising cave guides, traders and farmers examined in the immediate vicinity of the cave, 14 (35.0%) gave a positive skin test. In another population of the same age group, comprising 620 persons, viz. traders, farmers, palm oil workers and some patients attending rural clinics, examined in other nearby areas in Anambra State, 55 (8.8%) reacted positively to histoplasmin. In the immunodiffusion tests, 2 (2.08%) of the 96 school children and 17 (9.4%) of the 181 young adults, including farmers, palm oil workers and traders tested amongst the population around the cave, demonstrated precipitating antibodies to histoplasmin in their sera. Only 5 (0.79%) of the 630 adults of the same age group with similar occupations examined from other areas in Anambra State had precipitating antibodies. Out of another 50 subjects examined, viz.; wood workers, traders, farmers, and school teachers in Nsukka in the Enugu State, two (4.0%) demonstrated antibodies. It is suggested that asymptomatic infections due to the duboisii variety of H. capsulatum may be common in the human population around the cave. A diligent search with the help of local hospitals and public health officials may reveal clinical cases of histoplasmosis duboisii with cutaneous and systemic lesions.
Mycopathologia 02/1996; 134(2):71-4. DOI:10.1007/BF00436867