ASPERGILLOSIS - Watsons Health

ASPERGILLOSIS

  • An infection or allergic response because of the Aspergillus fungus.
    • Fungus is usually found growing on dead leaves, stored grain, compost piles, or in other decaying vegetation; can also be found on leaves of the marijuana plant.
    • Most people are frequently exposed to Aspergillus but infections caused by the fungus rarely occur in people who have an intact immune system.

Symptoms depend on the type of infection.

Allergic pulmonary aspergillosis may have:

  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood or brownish mucus plugs
  • Fever
  • General ill feeling (malaise)
  • Wheezing
  • Weight loss

Other symptoms depend on the part of the body affected, and may include:

  • Bone pain
  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Decreased urine output
  • Headaches
  • Increased phlegm production, which may be bloody
  • Shortness of breath
  • Skin sores (lesions)
  • Vision problems

 

DIAGNOSIS

  • Physician may do/request:
    • History & Physical Exam
  • Other additional tests such as:
    • Aspergillus antibody test
    • Chest x-ray
    • Complete blood count
    • CT scan
    • 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

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

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. It can be given by mouth or IV (into a vein).

  • Endocarditis caused by Aspergillusis treated by surgically removing the infected heart valves. Long-term antifungal drugs are also needed.

Allergic aspergillosis is treated with drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressive drugs), such as prednisone.

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