Transplant patient battles rare fungal infection

BRITT - Keith Lamaak, rural Britt, is four-time survivor. In 2008, Keith underwent a successful heart transplant surgery followed by kidney and pancreatic transplant surgery in 2011. Then in January of 2018, Keith battled a new health hazard – histoplasmosis.

Histoplasmosis is an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings, according to the Mayo Clinic website. It is most commonly transmitted when the spores become airborne – often during cleanup from demolition projects or renovation projects where birds [such as pigeons, sparrows, etc.] were.

Or, as Keith and his wife, LeAnn, think may have happened in his case – from piles of poultry manure being used for fertilizer on fields.

Keith started having problems early in 2018. He became tired, had a fever, and flu-like symptoms. He had no appetite and lost about 40 pounds. He became dehydrated.

Doctors at first were baffled as to the cause of his ailment since antibiotics didn’t help.

Finally, late in January doctors at the University of Minnesota Medical Center – Fairview removed fluid from his lungs for testing and a blood test confirmed the diagnosis of histoplasmosis. Keith spent about a week in the intensive care unit.

Read the complete story in the May 8 Leader.

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