Aspergillosis is an infection caused by a specific fungus that is is found all over the world. It can result in severe lung problems.
Inhaling fungus spores causes aspergillosis when the immune system is not working properly.
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 medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist in lung or infectious diseases.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
- Blood samples
- Urine samples
- Sputum samples
Your bodily structures may be viewed. This can be done with:
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include:
- Medications to treat the fungal infection such as IV amphotericin B, voriconazole, or itraconazole
- Surgery—part of the lung may need to be removed if it contains a large mass of fungus
The fungus that causes this condition is everywhere. High concentrations may be found in soil or compost. Mildew in bathrooms or other moist places may also contain this fungus. If you are at risk for getting an aspergillus infection, try to avoid close contact with soil or compost and take steps to keep your home mildew-free.
Antifungal medications may be given to certain patients at very high risk for infection.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 12/2017 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -