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Aspergillosis

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.

Inhalation of Spores
Spores in lungs
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Risk Factors

Risk factors include:

Asthma in Lungs
Asthma lung
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Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

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

Diagnosis

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.

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

  • Blood and 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, such as IV amphotericin B, voriconazole, and 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.

Resources

The Aspergillus/Aspergillosis Website
http://www.aspergillus.org

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

Canadian Resources

The Canadian Lung Association
http://www.lung.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

Pulmonary aspergilloma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated May 2, 2012. Accessed October 8, 2013.

Sherif R, Segal BH. Pulmonary aspergillosis: clinical presentation, diagnostic tests, management and complications. Current Opinions in Pulmonary Medicine. 2010;16(3):242-250.