Open Access Research article

Histoplasma capsulatum and Pneumocystis spp. co-infection in wild bats from Argentina, French Guyana, and Mexico

Antonio E González-González1, Cécile M Aliouat-Denis2, José A Ramírez-Bárcenas1, Christine Demanche2, Muriel Pottier2, Laura E Carreto-Binaghi1, Haroon Akbar2, Sandra Derouiche2, Magalie Chabé2, El Moukhtar Aliouat2, Eduardo Dei-Cas23 and Maria Lucia Taylor1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, School of Medicine, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City 04510, Mexico

2 Biology and Diversity of Emerging Eukaryotic Pathogens (BDEEP, EA4547), INSERM U1019, CNRS UMR8204, Institute Pasteur of Lille, Lille F-59019, France

3 CHU Lille, Biology and Pathology Center, Parasitology-Mycology, Lille F-59000, France

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-23

Published: 5 February 2014



Histoplasma capsulatum and Pneumocystis organisms cause host infections primarily affecting the lung tissue. H. capsulatum is endemic in the United States of America and Latin American countries. In special environments, H. capsulatum is commonly associated with bat and bird droppings. Pneumocystis-host specificity has been primarily studied in laboratory animals, and its ability to be harboured by wild animals remains as an important issue for understanding the spread of this pathogen in nature. Bats infected with H. capsulatum or Pneumocystis spp. have been found, with this mammal serving as a probable reservoir and disperser; however, the co-infection of bats with both of these microorganisms has never been explored. To evaluate the impact of H. capsulatum and Pneumocystis spp. infections in this flying mammal, 21 bat lungs from Argentina (AR), 13 from French Guyana (FG), and 88 from Mexico (MX) were screened using nested-PCR of the fragments, employing the Hcp100 locus for H. capsulatum and the mtLSUrRNA and mtSSUrRNA loci for Pneumocystis organisms.


Of the 122 bats studied, 98 revealed H. capsulatum infections in which 55 of these bats exhibited this infection alone. In addition, 51 bats revealed Pneumocystis spp. infection of which eight bats exhibited a Pneumocystis infection alone. A total of 43 bats (eight from AR, one from FG, and 34 from MX) were found co-infected with both fungi, representing a co-infection rate of 35.2% (95% CI = 26.8-43.6%).


The data highlights the H. capsulatum and Pneumocystis in bat population’s suggesting interplay with this wild host.

Histoplasma; Pneumocystis; Co-infection; Bats; PCR