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Aspergillosis

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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

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 diseases 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, 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.

Revision Information

  • The Aspergillus/Aspergillosis Website

    http://www.aspergillus.org

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    http://www.cdc.gov

  • The Canadian Lung Association

    http://www.lung.ca

  • Health Canada

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

  • Pulmonary aspergilloma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 2, 2012. Accessed December 19, 2014.

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