Aspergillosis is an infection caused by a specific fungus. It can lead to severe lung problems.
The fungus can be found all over the world. Spores of the fungus can be released into the air. It is then inhaled into the lungs. The immune system can get rid of the fungus in most people. Aspergillosis will occur if the immune system is not working properly. The fungus is able to grow and cause an infection.
Factors that may increase your chances of aspergillosis:
A weakened immune system from:
- 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 diseases:
Symptoms may include:
- Chronic, productive cough
- Coughing up blood
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. An infection will be suspected based on symptoms. Blood, urine, and coughed up fluids may also be tested. They can help to find the cause of the infection. The results will help to guide treatment.
The doctor may also need to see how much of the lung is involved. Tests may include one :
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
- Medications to treat the fungal infection
- Surgery—to remove a large mass of fungus, not always needed
The fungus that causes this condition is everywhere. It is common in soil or compost. The fungus can also be found in mildew in bathrooms or other moist areas of home. If you are at risk for getting an aspergillosis infection, try to:
- Avoid close contact with soil or compost.
- Avoid construction and renovation sites.
- Take steps to keep your home mildew-free.
Long-term antifungal medicine may be given to those with a very high risk for infections.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 09/2019 -
- Update Date: 09/06/2019 -