Invasive Aspergillosis

What Is Invasive Aspergillosis?

Invasive Aspergillosis (IA) is a serious fungal infection that can affect people of all ages. It is caused by the fungus Aspergillus, which is found worldwide in soil, decaying vegetation, or even in air-conditioners. IA can occur in people with weakened immune systems, and if left untreated, can be life threatening. People who are taking certain types of medications or who have had a bone marrow transplant, organ transplant, or chemotherapy for cancer are at an increased risk of contracting IA.

Signs and Symptoms of Invasive Aspergillosis

Some of the common signs and symptoms of IA include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chills
  • Chest pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss

IA can also cause other problems such as brain abscesses, granulomas, and skin and nail infections.

Diagnosis of Invasive Aspergillosis

Doctors use a combination of medical tests to diagnose IA. These tests may include blood tests, chest X-rays, and imaging tests such as CT scans or MRI scans. Additionally, doctors may take a sample of the patient’s sputum or mucus for further testing.

Treatment of Invasive Aspergillosis

Treatment for IA usually involves antifungal medications. In some cases, surgery may also be required to remove damaged or infected tissue. Additionally, immunosuppressive medications such as corticosteroids can be used to reduce inflammation and improve the patient’s response to treatment.

Prevention of Invasive Aspergillosis

Advice to decrease the risk of IA includes:

  • Avoiding areas with high levels of Aspergillus spores, such as bird cages, compost heaps, and areas of mold or dampness.
  • Minimizing contact with pets, as they may carry Aspergillus spores.
  • Keeping your living space clean and well-ventilated.
  • Taking antibiotics as prescribed, as this can reduce the risk of infection.