Aspergillosis is an infection or allergic response due to the Aspergillus fungus.
The fungus is often found growing on dead leaves, stored grain and compost piles or in other decaying vegetation.
There are several forms of Aspergillosis:
1. Allergic pulmonary Aspergillosis
Allergic pulmonary Aspergillosisis an allergic reaction to the fungus. This infection usually develops in people who already have lung problems such as asthma or cystic fibrosis.
3. Invasive pulmonary Aspergillosis
Invasive pulmonary Aspergillosisis a serious infection with pneumonia. It can spread to other parts of the body. This infection occurs most often in people with a weakened immune system.
This can be from cancer, AIDS, leukaemia, organ transplant, chemotherapy drugs that lower the number, function of white blood cells or weaken the immune system.
Symptoms depend on the type of infection.Symptoms of allergic pulmonary Aspergillosis may include:
- Coughing up blood or brownish mucus plugs
- General ill feeling (malaise)
- Weight loss
Other symptoms depend on the part of the body affected, and may include:
- Bone pain
- Chest pain
- Decreased urine output
- Increased phlegm production, which may be bloody
- Shortness of breath
- Skin sores (lesions)
- Vision problems
Tests to diagnose Aspergillus infection include:
- Aspergillus antibody test
- Complete blood count
- Galactomannan (a molecule from the fungus that is sometimes found in the blood)
- Immunoglobulin E (IgE) blood level
- Lung function tests
- Sputum stain and culture for Aspergillus
- Tissue biopsy
A fungus ball is usually not treated with antifungal medicines unless there is bleeding into the lung tissue. In such a case, surgery and medicines are needed. Invasive Aspergillosis is treated with several weeks of an antifungal medicine.