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:

    
  • Weakened immune system     
  • AIDS
  • Drugs that accompany an organ transplant
  • Certain cancer treatments
  • Long-term, high-dose cortisone-like drugs
  • Poorly functioning or too few white blood cells
  • Chronic lung disease     
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Asthma
  • 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:

        
  • Chest x-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Bronchoscopy
  • 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.