Backyard Chickens & Histoplasmosis in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Iowa Backyard Chickens

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum.  Fortunately, Histoplasmosis most often results in no symptoms or illness.  This fungus grows in the soil and is thought to be carried through chicken and other bird droppings.  Histoplasma capsulatumis transferred to humans via the respiratory tract.  Histoplasmosis is common in Iowa and reports show that more than 60% of the population has already been exposed.

Ocular Histoplasmosis occurs when this fungus causes scarring of the retina on the back, inside-surface of the eye.   I often see patients with these scars and they cause vision problems very rarely. 

Chickens are a fundamental part of Iowa heritage.  More and more Iowans are becoming interested in having their own flock of chickens for good reason.  Chickens can be a good source of both meat and eggs for the family.  Local food is environmentally friendly.  Free-range, organic food is healthier for you.  It reminds us and teaches our children where food comes from.   

Personally, I’m in favor of backyard chickens and the movement by Cedar Rapids Citizens for the Legalization of Urban Chickens (CLUC).  Chickens do not carry more disease than other city-approved animals.  Chickens make make less noise than barking dogs.  A well-maintained chicken coop doesn’t have a foul odor. 

If you have questions about Ocular Histoplasmosis contact one of the optometrists at Iowa EyeCare by calling 319-377-2222 or by clicking on the link: CEDAR RAPIDS EYE DOCTORS.

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