Aspergillosis: What You Need to Know About This Mold Infection
Aspergillosis is a type of infection caused by a common mold called Aspergillus. This mold can be found both indoors and outdoors, and most people breathe in its spores every day without getting sick. However, some people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to aspergillosis.
There are different types of aspergillosis, and they can affect different parts of the body. Some of the most common types are:
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA): This is a condition where the mold causes an allergic reaction in the lungs of people with asthma or cystic fibrosis. Symptoms include fever, coughing up blood or mucus, and worsening asthma.
Aspergilloma: This is a condition where the mold grows into a ball-like mass (fungus ball) inside a cavity in the lung. This can happen in people with chronic lung conditions, such as emphysema, tuberculosis, or sarcoidosis. Symptoms include coughing up blood, wheezing, shortness of breath, weight loss, and fatigue.
Invasive aspergillosis: This is the most serious type of aspergillosis, and it occurs when the mold spreads from the lungs to other organs, such as the brain, heart, kidneys, or skin. This can happen in people with severely compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing cancer chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation, or HIV/AIDS treatment. Symptoms depend on which organs are affected, but they may include fever, chills, chest or joint pain, headaches, eye problems, skin lesions, and organ failure.
Other types of aspergillosis: The mold can also infect other areas of the body besides the lungs, such as the sinuses, ears, eyes, or nails. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the infection, but they may include stuffy nose, drainage with blood, earache, vision loss, or nail discoloration.
Aspergillosis is diagnosed by testing samples of blood, sputum (mucus from the lungs), tissue, or other body fluids for the presence of Aspergillus. Imaging tests such as chest X-rays or CT scans may also be used to look for signs of infection in the lungs or other organs.
The treatment of aspergillosis depends on the type and severity of the infection. Some types of aspergillosis may not require any treatment at all, while others may need antifungal medications or surgery to remove the fungus balls or infected tissue. The prognosis of aspergillosis varies depending on the type and extent of the infection and the underlying health condition of the person.
The best way to prevent aspergillosis is to avoid exposure to Aspergillus spores as much as possible. This can be done by keeping your home clean and dry, using air filters or dehumidifiers to reduce mold growth indoors, wearing a mask when working with soil or compost outdoors, and avoiding contact with bird droppings or other sources of mold contamination. If you have a weakened immune system or a lung disease, you should also follow your doctor’s advice on how to protect yourself from infections.
If you think you may have symptoms of aspergillosis or you have been exposed to Aspergillus, you should see your doctor right away for diagnosis and treatment. Aspergillosis can be a serious and potentially life-threatening condition if left untreated.
Aspergillosis – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
Aspergillosis | Types of Fungal Diseases – CDC
Aspergillosis – Wikipedia