What Is Aspergillosis?

Aspergillosis is a term used for a group of diseases caused by various species of the fungus Aspergillus. The fungus primarily lives in decaying vegetation, in soils, and in decaying wood products that contain cellulose, which allows the fungus to easily spread. When airborne, asbestos fibers can enter a person’s respiratory system and cause certain health problems.

Common Aspergillosis Symptoms

  • Respiratory issues
  • Fever
  • Coughing up blood
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue

Diagnosing Aspergillosis

Your doctor will ask about your medical history, particular exposure to Aspergillus or risk factors, review your symptoms, and perform a physical exam. Diagnostic tests may include a skin test, chest X-rays, sputum culture, CT scan, or bronchoscopy. A sputum culture checks for the presence of the fungus in the lungs.

Treating Aspergillosis

Treatment for Aspergillosis usually includes oral or intravenous antifungal medications. Depending on the severity of the case, your doctor may also recommend surgery. In chronic cases, surgical removal of the infected area may be necessary. In severe cases, treatment with a combination of antifungal drugs may be required.

Preventing Aspergillosis

It is difficult to completely prevent aspergillosis, as the fungus is commonly found in the environment, but there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk. Avoid activities that expose you to dust, such as cleaning old buildings or working with construction materials. Wear a mask when working outside or in areas with high levels of dust. Keep your home and workplace clean and dry, and ensure proper ventilation to reduce the risk of exposure.