Seroprevalence of Histoplasmosis in Somali, Burmese, and Hmong Refugees Residing in Thailand and Kenya

J Immigr Minor Health. 2018 Apr;20(2):334-338. doi: 10.1007/s10903-017-0595-3.


Histoplasmosis is known to be endemic to the Midwestern United States, but cases have been reported throughout much of the world. Somali, Hmong, and Burmese (ethnically Karen) persons make up some of the largest refugee populations coming the United States in recent years. Yet, information about risk of Histoplasma capsulatum infection amongst these populations is limited. This study used the CDC Migrant Serum Bank to test ~100 samples from each of Somali, Burmese, and Hmong U.S.-bound refugees. Samples were tested by enzyme immunoassay for Histoplasma capsulatum IgG. Overall 1% (2/299) of refugee serum samples were positive for H. capsulatum IgG. One of 99 samples obtained from Hmong refugees was positive, and the other positive sample came from among 100 Burmese refugee samples. H capsulatum IgG positivity was detected at low levels in Hmong and Burmese refugees. No IgG positivity was detected among 100 Somali refugees.

Keywords: Histoplasma capsulatum; Refugee; Refugee health; Seroepidemiologic studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Histoplasmosis / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Kenya / epidemiology
  • Laos / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myanmar / ethnology
  • Refugee Camps
  • Refugees / statistics & numerical data*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Somalia / ethnology
  • Thailand / epidemiology
  • Young Adult