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Infectious Diseases

Histoplasmosis

06/28/2000

Question:

Is histoplasmosis considered an infectious disease since it can`t be tranmitted person to person? What is considered an "infectious disease?"

Answer:

The definition of infectious disease is as follows: A pathology produced by a life form (pathogen) that is distinct from the host. The pathogen can be a virus (i.e. Herpes, HIV), a bacterium (i.e. Staphylococcus aureus, Pneumococcus) , a fungus (i.e. Histoplasma capsulatum, Aspergillus fumigatus), a protozoan (Entamoeba histolyitica, Plasmodium malarie), a metazoan ( Ascaris intestinalis or intestinal worm, Trichuris trichura or hookworm). Some infectious diseases can be transmitted from person to person, and are called contagious diseases (i.e. The Flu, HIV, Hepatitis A) . Some infectious diseases are transmitted from animals to humans and are called zoonosis (i.e. Lyme disease, Yellow fever, Rabies). Some pathogens live in the environment but are able to cause disease if they gain access to our body, like Histoplasma capsulatum and Legionella pneumophila which is a cause of severe pneumonia. Most if not all contagious diseases are infectious, but not all infectious diseases are contagious. However, Histoplasma and a number of infectious agents can be experimentally transmitted to lab animals.

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Response by:

Francisco   Gomez, MD Francisco Gomez, MD
Assistant Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati