Stanardsville woman believes she contracted histoplasmosis on farm, warns others

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 11:05 AM EST
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STANARDSVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - “I’m what they call legally blind,” Roberta Carrier said.

“Histoplasmosis is a fungus,” Doctor Amy Mathers said.

A fungus that changed Carrier’s life: “It can cause fungus growing in your lungs, and in your eyes. It can can cause scars on the back of the retina,” she said.

Doctor Mathers says cases tend to cause fever and cough, but the most serious cases can lead to permanent blindness.

The fungus lives in Virginia soil.

“It is most prevalent in places where there’s a lot of bird or bat droppings. So, chicken coops or places like that is where it really thrives,” Dr. Mathers said.

Carrier believes she contracted this while working on a farm and studying to become a veterinarian. She wants to send a warning to people who are looking to buy hens while egg prices are on the rise.

“They may be exposing themselves to this and somewhere down the line have an eye problem like I do,” Carrier said.

“Cleaning out an old chicken coop or something, you know, you might want have somebody else actually do that just to be protected,” Dr. Mathers said.

You can’t get infected if you don’t breathe it in, so wearing a respirator or mask while cleaning a coop can make all the difference.

“I can’t see,” Carrier said. “I have problems with colors. I have problems with depth perception. All these things that keep me from being able to do all the things that I like to do.”

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