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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Fibrosing mediastinitis


Other Names for this Disease

  • Idiopathic mediastinal fibrosis
  • Mediastinal fibrosis
  • Sclerosing mediastinitis
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

Unknowingly I contracted histoplasmosis related fibrosing mediastinitis in my youth. The calcium scarring has asymptomatically over-grown my superior vena cava completely occluding it. Can I become re-infected by another encounter with H. capsulatum fungus? Are my prodigy at higher risk of contracting fibrosing mediastinitis? Is there a genetic component?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

Once a person has been infected with H. capsulatum can they be reinfected?

Yes. However, the infection is usually less severe the second time because the body's immune system provides partial protection. [1]

Additional information on H. capsulatum can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
Last updated: 11/6/2014

Can histoplasmosis be transmitted from person to person?

Histoplasmosis is not contagious and cannot be transmitted from the lungs of one person to another.[1]
Last updated: 11/6/2014

Do people with H. capsulatum-related fibrosing mediastinitis tend to have affected family members?

We did not find statistics in the literature regarding the number of people with fibrosing mediastinitis who have an affected family member. Case reports in the medical literature describing multiple affected members in the same family are very rare.[2]
Last updated: 11/6/2014

Is H. capsulatum-related fibrosing mediastinitis genetic?

Why a small fraction of people exposed to H. capsulatum go on to develop fibrosing mediastinitis while others remain healthy is not clear. It is likely that fibrosing mediastinitis is a multifactorial condition caused by the interaction of genetic and environmental factors.

For example, one study (Peebles RS et al., 2000) found that people with H. capsulatum-related fibrosing mediastinitis were approximately 3 times as likely as those without this condition to carry a certain genetic allele called HLA-A2. "HLA" stands for human leukocyte antigen which is an important part of our immune system. Finding a link between H. capsulatum-related fibrosing mediastinitis and HLA-A2 is noteworthy because it suggests that an abnormal immune response is important in the development of the condition. However, HLA-A2 is very common and most people with this allele do not develop fibrosing mediatinitis. It is, therefore, likely that HLA-A2 contributes along with other genetic or environmental factors to the development of this condition.[3]
Last updated: 11/6/2014

References
Other Names for this Disease
  • Idiopathic mediastinal fibrosis
  • Mediastinal fibrosis
  • Sclerosing mediastinitis
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.