Histoplasmosis: A systematic review to inform the World Health Organization of a fungal priority pathogens list

Med Mycol. 2024 Jun 27;62(6):myae039. doi: 10.1093/mmy/myae039.


Histoplasmosis, a significant mycosis primarily prevalent in Africa, North and South America, with emerging reports globally, poses notable health challenges, particularly in immunocompromised individuals such as people living with HIV/AIDS and organ transplant recipients. This systematic review, aimed at informing the World Health Organization's Fungal Priority Pathogens List, critically examines literature from 2011 to 2021 using PubMed and Web of Science, focusing on the incidence, mortality, morbidity, antifungal resistance, preventability, and distribution of Histoplasma. We also found a high prevalence (22%-44%) in people living with HIV, with mortality rates ranging from 21% to 53%. Despite limited data, the prevalence of histoplasmosis seems stable, with lower estimates in Europe. Complications such as central nervous system disease, pulmonary issues, and lymphoedema due to granuloma or sclerosis are noted, though their burden remains uncertain. Antifungal susceptibility varies, particularly against fluconazole (MIC: ≥32 mg/l) and caspofungin (MICs: 4-32 mg/l), while resistance to amphotericin B (MIC: 0.125-0.16 mg/l), itraconazole (MICs: 0.004-0.125 mg/l), and voriconazole (MICs: 0.004-0.125 mg/l) remains low. This review identifies critical knowledge gaps, underlining the need for robust, globally representative surveillance systems to better understand and combat this fungal threat.

Keywords: Histoplasma; antifungal resistance; clinical mycology; histoplasmosis; invasive fungal infection.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal*
  • Histoplasma* / drug effects
  • Histoplasma* / isolation & purification
  • Histoplasmosis* / drug therapy
  • Histoplasmosis* / epidemiology
  • Histoplasmosis* / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host
  • Prevalence
  • World Health Organization*


  • Antifungal Agents