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Aspergillosis

Aspergillosis:


According to Van Burik JA, Aspergillosis is a disease caused by two main species of Aspergillus, namely Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus fumigatus (G.S. de Hoog et al (2018). a common mold (a type of fungus) that lives indoors and outdoors. This disease is known to affect mostly people with weakened immune systems and also people with existing respiratory illnesses. It is rare that people without these conditions are affected by the disease but they are still not safe from the harmful effects of the Aspergillus spore.

There are more than 200 highly diverged species of Aspergillus, some produce various useful enzymes and organic acids but conversely the spore is known to produce various secondary metabolites, some of which are very harmful to Humans. Some of the spores are even known to produce mycotoxins of strong carsinogenic activity (Carsinogen – Substance capable of causing cancer).


Types of Aspergillosis:


  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA): Aspergillus causes inflammation in the lungs and allergy symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, but doesn’t cause an infection.



  • Allergic Aspergillus sinusitis: Aspergillus causes inflammation in the sinuses and symptoms of a sinus infection (drainage, stuffiness, headache) but doesn’t cause an infection.



  • Aspergilloma: also called a “fungus ball.” As the name suggests, it is a ball of Aspergillus that grows in the lungs, sinuses and brain but usually does not spread to other parts of the body.



  • Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis: a long-term (3 months or more) condition in which Aspergillus can cause cavities in the lungs. One or more fungal balls (aspergillomas) may also be present in the lungs.



  • Invasive aspergillosis: a serious infection that usually affects people who have weakened immune systems, such as people who have had an organ transplant or a stem cell transplant. Invasive aspergillosis most commonly affects the lungs, but it can also spread to other parts of the body.



  • Cutaneous (skin) aspergillosis: Aspergillus enters the body through a break in the skin (for example, after surgery or a burn wound) and causes infection, usually in people who have weakened immune systems. Cutaneous aspergillosis can also occur if invasive aspergillosis spreads to the skin from somewhere else in the body, such as the lungs.



  • Toxic aspergillosis: An acute dyspnea (difficult or labored breathing) is observed after alveolar reaction towards massive inhalation of Aspergillus spores. The reaction is short in duration and abates without residual symptoms.

  • Asthmatic aspergillosis. This is an acute, allergic bronchial constriction as a result of repeated exposure to Aspergillus conidia (spores) and leading to formation of specific antibodies. The reaction is short in duration but recurrent on repeated exposure.

Symptoms to look for:

  • Chest Pain

  • Constant Cough

  • Coughing up Blood

  • Fatigue

  • Fever

  • Unusual Weight Loss

  • Skin lesions

  • Joint Pain

  • Shortness of Breath


Complications:

The Disease include difficulty breathing that gets worse over time, Massive bleeding from lungs and a spread of the infection.


Prepared by: Ancius Herman


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References:


  • Bossche, H. V., Cauwenbergh, G., & MacKenzie, D. W. (1988). Aspergillus and Aspergillosis. New York: New York Plenum. Retrieved October 2, 2018

  • Broaddus, V. C., Mason, R. J., Ernst, J. D., King, T. E., Lazarus, S. C., Murray, J. F., . . . Gotway, M. (2016). Murray & Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine (6th ed.). doi:C2011-1-08123-7

  • Hoog, G. S., Guarro, J., Gene, J., & Figueras, M. (2018). Atlas of Clinical Fungi. Retrieved October 15, 2018, from http://atlas.clinicalfungi.org/AtlasOnline//index.xhtml;jsessionid=C56C8EA73313D0ECA3426BDA50306520

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