Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Aspergillosis

Pronounced: ASS-per-jill-OH-sis

Definition

Aspergillosis is an infection caused by a specific fungus that is is found all over the world. It can result in severe lung problems.

Causes ^

Inhaling fungus spores causes aspergillosis when the immune system is not working properly.

Inhalation of Spores
Spores in lungs

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Risk Factors ^

Factors that may increase your chances of aspergillosis:

Asthma in Lungs
Asthma lung

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Symptoms ^

Symptoms may include:

  • Chronic, productive cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain

Diagnosis ^

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist in lung or infectious diseases.

Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:

  • Blood samples
  • Urine samples
  • Sputum samples

Your bodily structures may be viewed. This can be done with:

Treatment ^

Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:

  • Medications to treat the fungal infection such as IV amphotericin B, voriconazole, or itraconazole
  • Surgery—part of the lung may need to be removed if it contains a large mass of fungus

Prevention ^

The fungus that causes this condition 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 an aspergillus infection, try to avoid close contact with soil or compost and take steps to keep your home mildew-free.

Antifungal medications may be given to certain patients at very high risk for infection.

RESOURCES:

American Lung Association
http://www.lung.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

The Lung Association
https://www.lung.ca

REFERENCES:

Invasive aspergillosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115708/Invasive-aspergillosis. Updated September 20, 2016. Accessed December 11, 2017.

Sherif R, Segal BH. Pulmonary aspergillosis: clinical presentation, diagnostic tests, management and complications. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2010;16(3):242-250.

Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 12/20/2014