Aspergillosis – The Deadly Facts

Aspergillosis – The Deadly Facts

Because aspergillosis is not a reportable infection in North America, the exact number of cases is difficult to determine. Milder, allergic forms of aspergillosis are more common than the invasive form of the infection.

Invasive aspergillosis is uncommon and occurs primarily in immunocompromised people. The first population-based incidence estimates for invasive aspergillosis were obtained from laboratory surveillance conducted in the San Francisco Bay Area during 1992-1993 and suggested a yearly rate of 1 to 2 cases of aspergillosis per 100,000 population. However, the epidemiology of invasive Aspergillus infections has likely shifted since this time due to the increasing number of solid organ and stem cell transplant recipients and newer immunosuppressive agents.

Although most cases of aspergillosis are sporadic (not part of an outbreak), outbreaks of invasive aspergillosis occasionally occur in hospitalized patients. Invasive aspergillosis outbreaks are often found to be associated with hospital construction or renovation, which can increase the amount of airborne Aspergillus, resulting in respiratory infections or surgical site infections in high-risk patients. Outbreaks of primary cutaneous aspergillosis and central nervous system aspergillosis in association with the use of contaminated medical devices have also been described. The incubation period for aspergillosis is unclear and likely varies depending on the dose of Aspergillus and the host immune response.

Allergic forms of aspergillosis such as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and allergic Aspergillus sinusitis are generally not life-threatening.

In contrast, although invasive aspergillosis is uncommon, it is a serious infection and can be a major cause of mortality in immunocompromised patients. For example, a large prospective study found that the one-year survival for people who had invasive aspergillosis was 59% among solid organ transplant recipients and 25% among stem cell transplant recipients.

Who gets aspergillosis?
The different types of aspergillosis affect different groups of people.

  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) most often occurs in people who have cystic fibrosis or asthma.
  • Aspergillomas usually affect people who have other lung diseases like tuberculosis.
  • Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis typically occurs in people who have other lung diseases, including tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or sarcoidosis.
  • Invasive aspergillosis affects people who have weakened immune systems, such as people who have had a stem cell transplant or organ transplant, are getting chemotherapy for cancer, or are taking high doses of corticosteroids.

How does someone get aspergillosis?
People can get aspergillosis by breathing in microscopic Aspergillus spores from the environment. Most people breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, people with weakened immune systems or lung diseases are at a higher risk of developing health problems due to Aspergillus.

How can I prevent aspergillosis?
It’s difficult to avoid breathing in  Aspergillus spores because the fungus is common in the environment. For people who have weakened immune systems, there may be some ways to lower the chances of developing a severe Aspergillus infection.

  • Protect yourself from the environment. Try to avoid areas with a lot of dust like construction or excavation sites. If you can’t avoid these areas, wear an N95 respirator (a type of face mask) while you’re there. Click here for more information about respirators.
    • Avoid activities that involve close contact to soil or dust, such as yard work or gardening. If this isn’t possible,
      • Wear shoes, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when doing outdoor activities such as gardening, yard work, or visiting wooded areas.
      • Wear gloves when handling materials such as soil, moss, or manure.
    • To reduce the chances of developing a skin infection, clean skin injuries well with soap and water, especially if they have been exposed to soil or dust.
      It’s important to note that although these actions are recommended, they haven’t been proven to prevent aspergillosis.
  • Antifungal medication. If you are at high risk for developing invasive aspergillosis (for example, if you’ve had an organ transplant or a stem cell transplant), your healthcare provider may prescribe medication to prevent aspergillosis. Scientists are still learning about which transplant patients are at highest risk and how to best prevent fungal infections.
  • Testing for early infection. Some high-risk patients may benefit from blood tests to detect invasive aspergillosis. Talk to your doctor to determine if this type of test is right for you.

For more information please check out the Centre of Disease Control. Information gathered is based on 2013-2010 statistical reports from the Centre of Disease Control and we give full acknowledgement to their findings and articles. got mold? recommends all of our readers to share the articles for knowledge based purposes.

Where Should I Look For Mold?

Where Should I Look For Mold?
Spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dryness, that do not support normal mold growth. In fact, many spores can lie dormant for decades until favorable conditions allow them to spring back to life.
Molds can be found almost anywhere and can grow on virtually any substance, provided moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, tile, dry wall, insulation, leather, fabrics and foods. Molds survive by digesting what they are growing on.
There is no way to eliminate all mold and mold spores from your indoor environment. The only way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
Here is a list of the most common areas where you will find mold growth:
1. Bathrooms and kitchens, especially under sinks–check for leaks and other moisture.
2. Behind or under appliances that hide slow plumbing leaks (refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.)
3. Leaky roofs
4. Around windows where condensation collects
5. High humidity areas of your home, such as basements
6. Closet corners of exterior walls because humidity is attracted to the cold spots where the vapor barrier may be broken and/or a lack of insulation may be present. This causes humidity to be trapped behind clothing and/or other items, such as boxes and could cause mold to grow.
The first sign of a mold problem is a “musty” or “mildewy” odor. Other signs of mold include buckled floorboards, discolored carpet, a new water stain on your wall, or black or white specks—these are all signs you could be developing a mold problem.
If you find mold, we recommend that you do not disturb it because you could release more spores which will make the problem worse. The key to control mold growth is to contain it and prevent it from spreading to more areas of the home. Best piece of advice we can offer is to just Do Not Disturb the mold and then contact a professional to assess the concern further.
If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

Don’t Spray Mold!

Don’t Spray Mold!
There seems to be lots of mis-information on the Internet recommending that you spray chemicals on mold. This article explains why spraying mold will in fact make the situation worse.
WHAT IS MOLD?
Molds are a type of fungi and are neither plant nor animal. There are over 100,000 types of mold with at least 1,000 types found in North America and live in colonies growing on food, fabric, bathroom walls, construction materials, and soil. Mold proliferates through the release of spores into the air we breathe and are not visible to the naked eye.
Indoor molds cause two key problems.
1. They destroy the material that they feed on, including bathroom walls, carpets, insulation, and ceilings.
2. Exposure to high concentrations of certain types of mold creates health problems. For this reason, materials that are infected with mold need to be removed. In fact, mold is like a cancer, unless it is dealt with and removed, it will continue to grow. The only way to deal with mold is to eradicate it.
HOW DOES MOLD GROW?
Most homes and buildings have mold because they offer the three ingredients mold needs to grow:
1. Food, which includes materials high in cellulose content such as paper and wood. Drywall, wallpaper, carpet, ceiling tiles, dust, and dirt, are also food sources for mold.
2. Temperatures of 5 degrees to 38 degrees present the perfect environment for mold.
3. Finally, water is the key ingredient. Mold can not grow without moisture. Where there is moisture, you will find mold. This is one of the reasons that leaking pipes, roofs and ceiling, sewer backups, floods, and condensation end up causing mold issues.
Mold is a growing concern because we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, creating a situation ripe for health issues.
KILLING MOLD IS NOT THE ANSWER!
Getting rid of mold by applying bleach or chemicals is NOT the answer to the problem because dead mold spores are just as harmful to the human lung as live spores. You may have read or heard about the myth of the “Mummy’s Curse” in which all of the Archaeologists that discovered King Tutankhamen’s Tomb eventually died. They, in fact, died from dead aspergillus mold spores that laid dormant for centuries!
In addition, mold spores like Aspergillus and Stachybotrys (black mold) are toxic in both a live form and a dead form. The key to proper mold removal is to remove all of the mold spores.
Mold is toxic and can cause many health issues. In fact, mold produces mycotoxins that are pathogenic to animals and humans. In 2011 we posted an article on the uses of mold as a biological weapon to illustrate just how toxic mold is.
In the words of our founder and President, James C. Watson:

“There is no chemical that should be sprayed on mold as the dead mold spores are just as harmful as the living mold spores. All standards and reference guides including the IICRC mold removal guideline frown upon spraying mold. It is all abut removal, air filtration and proper cleaning. When you spray stuff on mold it will release its spores into the air and the air is the last place you want a large contamination of mold spores“.
Well stated James! 🙂

Why is Mold a Growing Concern?

Why is Mold a Growing Concern?
Most homes and buildings have mold because they offer the three ingredients mold needs to grow:
1. Food, which includes materials high in cellulose content such as paper and wood. Drywall, wallpaper, carpet, ceiling tiles, dust, and dirt, are also food sources for mold.
2. Temperatures of 5 degrees to 38 degrees present the perfect environment for mold.
3. Finally, water is the key ingredient. Mold can not grow without moisture. Where there is moisture, you will find mold. This is one of the reasons that leaking pipes, roofs and ceiling, sewer backups, floods, and condensation end up causing mold issues.
Mold is a growing concern because we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, creating a situation ripe for health issues.
Mold is like a cancer, unless it is properly dealt with and removed, it will continue to grow. The only way to deal with mold is to eradicate it and this is the reason that got mold?™ is in the business of mold remediation. Our goal is to eradicate mold and create healthier and safer living environments for our clients. If you suspect that you have mold, please give us a call and hire one of our professionals inspect your home.

Mold’s Favorite Places in Your Home

Mold’s Favorite Places in Your Home
Spores can survive harsh environmental conditions, such as dryness, that do not support normal mold growth. In fact, many spores can lie dormant for decades until favorable conditions allow them to spring back to life.
Molds can be found almost anywhere and can grow on virtually any substance, provided moisture and oxygen are present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, tile, sheetrock, insulation, leather, fabrics and foods. Molds survive by digesting what they are growing on.
There is no way to eliminate all mold and mold spores from your indoor environment. The only way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
Here is a list of the most common areas where you will find mold growth:
  • Bathrooms and kitchens, especially under sinks–check for leaks and other moisture.
  • Behind or under appliances that hide slow plumbing leaks (refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, etc.)
  • Leaky roofs
  • Around windows where condensation collects
  • High humidity areas of your home, such as basements
  • The first sign of a mold problem is a “musty” or “mildewy” odor. Other signs of mold include buckled floorboards, discolored carpet, a new water stain on your wall, or black or white specks—these are all signs you could be developing a mold problem.
    If you find mold, we recommend that you contact a mold remediator for a professional assessment to prevent further damage and the inadvertent release of spores which will compound the mold problem you may have.