Aspergillus is a common type of fungus. It is found all over the world. Aspergillosis is an infection caused by this fungus. It can result in severe lung problems.
While this type of infection is rare, it is more common in people with:
Most of these condition weaken the immune system. The body is less able to fight off infections. In these cases, the fungus can spread to other organs. This can include the eye, sinuses, and brain. It is a serious condition that requires treatment.
Another form of aspergillosis affects people with asthma:
Risk factors include:
If you have any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to aspergillosis. These symptoms may be caused by other conditions. Tell your doctor if you have any of these:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist in lung diseases or infectious diseases. Tests may include the following:
The underlying disease must be treated along with the aspergillosis. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
Aspergillus is everywhere. High concentrations may be found in soil or compost. Mildew in bathrooms or other moist places may also contain this fungus. If you are at risk for getting aspergillus infection, try to avoid close contact with soil or compost and take steps to keep your home mildew-free.
The Aspergillus Website
Center for Disease Control
The Canadian Lung Association
Aspergillosis. DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamicmedical.com/dynamed.nsf?opendatabase . Updated November 1, 2010. Accessed January 22, 2011.
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Bennett JE. Aspergillosis. In: Kasper DL, et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine . 16th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2005:1188-1190.
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Sherif R, Segal BH. Pulmonary aspergillosis: clinical presentation, diagnostic tests, management and complications. Current Opinions in Pulmonary Medicine. 2010;16(3):242-250.
Last reviewed December 2011 by Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Last Updated: 12/30/2011