Histoplasmosis "Histo"

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CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Summary Statement

This toolbox talk was created by NIOSH and CPWR and covers the health complications caused by histoplasmosis. The design allows workers to view a graphic while the facilitator presents the information. After the talk, the sheet can be posted on the jobsite with the graphic side out to reinforce the key points.
2013

CPWR Toolbox Talk logoHistoplasmosis is a disease caused by a mold that grows in soil and in material found in bat and bird droppings. Workers can become sick from breathing dust containing mold spores when contaminated matter is disturbed. Workers who are most at risk include bridge painters, demolition workers, heavy equipment operators, roofers, and heating and air-conditioning system installers.

Here is an Example

Juan, a roofer in Ohio, had been remodeling the roof of a previously abandoned house that had new owners. In the middle of the remodeling project he began experiencing shortness of breath, joint stiffness, chills, and fever. His doctor diagnosed histoplasmosis and treated him with an antifungal medication. Even though he was successfully treated, Juan might continue to experience discomfort, because histoplasmosis can lead to the scarring of lung tissue.

  1. Do you have contact with bird or bat droppings?
  2. Have you ever experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above?
  3. Were you treated by a doctor?

Preventing and Treating Histoplasmosis “Histo”

  • Avoid areas that may harbor the fungus, such as accumulations of bird or bat droppings.
  • Recognize the symptoms:
    • a flu-like feeling
    • chest pains
    • a dry cough with no mucus
  • Prevent the accumulation of manure.
  • Post health risk warnings.
  • Wear a respirator approved for dust.
  • Wear gloves during work and wash up afterwards.
  • Mist piles of droppings with water before and during cleanup activities to keep the dust down.
  • Dispose of waste.

What Are We Going to Do Today?

What will we do here at the worksite today to prevent Histoplasmosis?

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2.____________________________________________________________

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OSHA STANDARD 1926.25

Graphic of a worker misting piles of droppings/manure.  The worker is wearing a respirator and gloves.

  • Wear a respirator approved for dust.
  • Wear gloves during work and wash up afterwards.
  • Mist piles of droppings with water before and during cleanup activities to keep the dust down.