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Definition Return to top
Aspergillosis is an infection, growth, or allergic response due to the Aspergillus fungus.
Causes Return to top
Aspergillosis is caused by a fungus (Aspergillus), which is commonly found growing on dead leaves, stored grain, compost piles, or in other decaying vegetation.
There are several forms of aspergillosis:
Symptoms Return to top
Symptoms depend on the actual type of infection. For symptoms of aspergillosis-related growth, see aspergilloma.
Symptoms of allergic aspergillosis may include:
Additional symptoms seen in invasive aspergillosis:
Exams and Tests Return to top
Tests to diagnose Aspergillus infection include:
Treatment Return to top
A fungus ball is usually not treated unless there is bleeding into the lung tissue. In that case, surgery is required.
Invasive aspergillosis is treated with several weeks of an antifungal drug called voriconizole. It can be given orally or in an IV (directly into a vein). Amphotericin B or itraconazole can also be used.
Endocarditis caused by Aspergillus is treated by surgically removing the infected heart valves. Long-term amphotericin B therapy is also needed.
Antifungal drugs do not help people with allergic aspergillosis. Allergic aspergillosis is treated with immunosuppressive drugs -- most often prednisone taken by mouth.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
People with allergic aspergillosis usually get better gradually, with treatment.
If invasive aspergillosis does not get better with drug treatment, it eventually leads to death. What happens to a person with invasive aspergillosis also depends on the underlying disease and immune system function.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of aspergillosis.
Prevention Return to top
Be careful when using medications that suppress the immune system. Prevention of AIDS prevents certain diseases, including aspergillosis, that are associated with a damaged or weaken immune system.
References Return to topStevens DA. Aspergillosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 360. Update Date: 9/28/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.