Histoplasmosis historical perspective
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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. ; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Serge Korjian M.D., Vidit Bhargava, M.B.B.S , Aravind Kuchkuntla, M.B.B.S
Histoplasma capsulatum was first described by Samuel Taylor Darling in 1906, who coined the term to describe the "plasmodium-like" organisms in the histocytes. In 1912, Henrique da Rocha-Lima, a Brazilian tropical disease specialist, reported findings from a comparison between Leishmania and Histoplasma and concluded that Histoplasma more closely resembled a yeast than a protozoan. In the late 1940s, William A. DeMonbreun, the first person to culture the organism, suggested that the disease may be prevalent in the United States due to mild and carrier forms.
- Histoplasma capsulatum was first described by Samuel Taylor Darling, an American pathologist, during his work in the Panama Canal Zone.
- He observed an organism in a patient's autopsy material that resembled Leishmania and at that time, he falsely identified it as a protozoa.
- The patient died of a generalized disease associated with hepatosplenomegaly and anemia, a syndrome similar to the findings of Leishman and Donovan.
- Despite his very crude equipment by modern standards, Darling was able to identify these "plasmodium-like" organisms in histiocytes, hence coining the name Histoplasma.
- The term "capsulatum" stemmed from Darling's false assumption that the organism has a capsule.
- In 1912, Henrique da Rocha-Lima, a Brazilian tropical disease specialist, reported findings from a comparison between Leishmania and Histoplasma and concluded that Histoplasma more closely resembled a yeast than a protozoan.
- Up until the early 1940s, histoplasmosis was considered a fatal tropical disease not prevalent in the United States.
- Dr. Charles E. Smith was the first person to suggest that the rise in pulmonary calcifications in patients with a negative tuberculin test could be due to Histoplasma.
Isolation and Culture
- In 1928, Dr. Edna H. Tompkins identified the first case of histoplasmosis by demonstrating the organism on the blood smear.
- In 1933, Dr. William A. DeMonbreun of Vanderbilt University became the first person to successfully culture Histoplasma capsulatum species from the same patient identified by Dr. Tompkins.
- Dr. DeMonbreun also fulfilled Koch's postulates after he injected the culture material into animals.
- He also suggested that the disease may not be as low in prevalence as initially hypothesized due to mild and carrier forms.
- In 1948, Dr. Chester W. Emmons isolated and cultured Histoplasma capsulatum from a soil sample for the first time.
Histoplasmosis in Popular Culture
- Johnny Cash included a reference to the disease, and correctly noted its source in bird droppings, in the song "Beans for Breakfast".
- Bob Dylan was hospitalized due to histoplasmosis in 1997, causing the cancellation of concerts in the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
- In the episode Family, episode 21 of season 3 of the television show 'House, M.D.' a patient was diagnosed with histoplasmosis.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 BAUM GL, SCHWARZ J (1957). "The history of histoplasmosis, 1906 to 1956". N Engl J Med. 256 (6): 253–8. doi:10.1056/NEJM195702072560605. PMID 13400245.
- ↑ Hegner RW (1925). "SAMUEL TAYLOR DARLING 1872-1925". Science. 62 (1593): 23–4. doi:10.1126/science.62.1593.23. PMID 17738786.