What is aspergillosis?

Aspergillosis is a type of fungal infection that tends to occur in chronically ill patients with cancers, tuberculosis, chronic bronchiectases from chronic bronchitis, and other chronic lung diseases.

Aspergillus species are a mold, which is very common in our environment. They are found in compost heaps, air conditioning ducts and heating systems, insulating materials of walls and in dust particles. In a patient who suffers from bronchiectasis where there are large infected air pockets in the lungs, these particles will sprout into thread-like “hyphen” which will eventually turn into a fungus ball.

What are the signs and symptoms of aspergillosis?

Symptoms depend very much on where it starts. The primary lesion could be located in one area causing pain. From the primary focus it can also lead to disseminated aspergillosis, in which case the liver, the brain, the kidneys and other organs get infected. This is life threatening and is often fatal.

How is aspergillosis diagnosed?

Diagnosis of aspergillosis is done using X-rays, CT scans, and endoscopic tests (rhinoscopy).

How is aspergillosis treated?

Treatment depends on the clinical situation and needs to be directed by a specialist in the field where the primary lesion is located. Otherwise and infection specialist should be consulted for cases of disseminated aspergillosis.