Bob Dylan is recuperating at his Los Angeles home after being hospitalized in late May with severe chest pains. A statement issued by Columbia Records on June 2 said that Dylan was undergoing treatment for histoplasmosis pericarditis, a fungal infection of the sac that surrounds the heart. Although his doctors are confident that Dylan will fully recover by mid-July, the legendary singer’s condition forced him to cancel a European tour set to begin June 1, in Cork, Ireland. According to the statement, Dylan plans to return to the stage in August for a scheduled U.S. tour.
Histoplasmosis is contracted by inhaling fungal spores found in bird or bat droppings, primarily in areas located near river valleys such as those in Indiana, Tennessee and Illinois. Dylan played shows on April 30 in Evansville, Ind., and May 2 in Memphis, Tenn.
According to Dr. Arnold Weinberg, medical director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, and a leading expert on infectious disease, Dylan’s case is a rare one. “He has a very unusual clinical problem,” says Weinberg. “Most people who inhale spores have flu symptoms or contract a respiratory infection, at most. Only about 5 percent suffer pericarditis.
“His doctors did a damn good job of diagnosing this,” Weinberg says. “Based on the information, his prognosis is good. I think he would have an excellent chance to perform by August.”
This story is from the July 10th, 1997 issue of Rolling Stone.