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Histoplasma Infection Risks for Workers and Vulnerable Populations in Puerto Rico

Zimmetry Environmental provides infection control, industrial hygiene and indoor environmental quality testing and consulting services to identify and mitigate exposure risks to microbial pathogens.

Bayamon, Puerto Rico – WEBWIRE

Outbreaks of histoplasmosis have been recorded in Puerto Rico, as well as in the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean.

Histoplasmosis is the name of an infection caused by a fungus known as Histoplasma capsulatum. The fungus lives in the environment, particularly in soil or other materials that contain large amounts of bird or bat droppings. Outbreaks of histoplasmosis have been recorded in Puerto Rico, as well as in the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Histoplasma spores circulate in the air after contaminated soil or materials are disturbed. When people breathe in the spores, they are at risk of developing histoplasmosis. After the spores enter the lungs, a person’s body temperature allows the spores to transform into yeast. The yeast can then travel to lymph nodes and can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream.

Fortunately, most people who are exposed to Histoplasma never have symptoms and others may have symptoms that go away on their own. According to the CDC, symptoms may appear between 3 and 17 days after exposure and may include fever, cough, fatigue, chills, headache, chest pain and body aches. The very young, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for developing severe forms of the infection.

“An attic, roof top or any place where there are large amounts of bird droppings or bat guano could put people at risk, especially workers that have to spend time in those locations,” said Harry Pena, President of Zimmetry Environmental. “A few years ago, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) brought renewed attention to work-related histoplasmosis and reported that people working in construction had a higher risk of getting the infection. Other occupations at elevated risk include those involved with demolition and renovation work, farmers, landscapers and bridge workers to name a few. NIOSH even reported that about a third of histoplasmosis outbreaks in the U.S. are work-related, and some of the outbreaks have occurred in the workplace with workers not directly involved in the activities that caused the outbreak.”

To protect workers and the public from exposure risks to Histoplasma capsulatum and other microbial pathogens, the infection control, industrial hygiene and indoor environmental quality professionals at Zimmetry Environmental offer testing, consulting and training services in Puerto Rico and across the region. Zimmetry also recently sponsored an educational video about histoplasmosis and Histoplasma exposure risks that can be seen at:

To learn more about Zimmetry Environmental and their infection control, industrial hygiene, compliance and consulting services, please visit, call (787) 995.0005 or email .

About Zimmetry Environmental
Since 2002, Zimmetry Environmental has been providing environmental consulting services to building owners and managers, architects, engineers, EHS professionals and Fortune 500 companies. The company is based in Puerto Rico and provides services across the Caribbean and Central America. The professionals at Zimmetry offer environmental compliance, indoor air quality, asbestos, lead-based paint, Phase I ESAs and general environmental consulting services.

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 Infection Control
 Industrial Hygiene
 Occupational Health
 Air Testing

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