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.

Mold in the News: Issue 10

Mold in the News: Issue 10
At Got Mold? our goal is to keep our followers aware of mould related news stories. Each day, we scour the internet looking for relevant information. Here are some stories we thought may interest you!
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FEATURED STORY: Better Science Means More Toxic Mold Lawsuits: Toxic mold lawsuits have historically been met with speculation. Much of this was the result of the science — differing opinions on causation and whether visible mold automatically implies the presence of toxins. Some even went so far as to claim mold litigation was based on “junk science and hysteria.” However, a recent ruling from a New York appeals court suggests that prevailing opinions about mold science may have changed.
Mold Advocate Put In Jail: Earlier this week Sharon Kramer was jailed for telling the truth about mold and the negative health effects it can have.
VIDEO: Healthy Living: Early allergy season: If you suffer from allergies, doctors are recommending that their patients seek treatment a little earlier this year.
Mold The Hidden Perpetrator of Sinus Infections – Found in 96% of Mayo Study Participants: Nasal congestion is usually caused by infection or allergy, and is one of the most frequent medical complaints in the United States. A common belief is that nasal congestion or “stuffy nose” is due to a buildup of mucus. However, congestion is more often due to swelling of the nasal tissues, caused by inflamed blood vessels.
Clearing the air at school: In her letter, Bornstein called for the immediate firing of Superintendent Bella Wong and the district’s assistant superintendent, Salvatore Petralia, saying they had failed to fully pursue the state agency’s recommendations, which included making improvements to the ventilation system and installing a new drainage system at the school.
Is there something more to the black mold on the Rye Public Safety Building?: The Portsmouth Herald did the people a public service in publishing a recent article written by reporter Joey Cresta on the continuing problems with the Rye Public Safety Building (RPSB). The appearance of his article has re-ignited the concerns of many in Rye who thought this infamous debacle was old news, but has also generated new interest among those who were not here or otherwise not aware when the events of this dark continuing saga were being played out several years ago.
Ask Dr. John: Blood pressure, mold, cleansing diets: Every Wednesday morning, Dr. John Torres answers your questions on 9NEWS. If you would like to submit a question to Dr. John, email him at
Tornado victim battled mold after belongings were soaked: When Joplin tornado survivor Susan Robinson, 44, woke up the last Sunday morning in February, she was short of breath and eventually passed out. It was the latest in a string of such episodes that each time resulted in a trip to Freeman Hospital West. The last attack was worse than the others. Robinson awoke the next morning on a ventilator in the intensive care unit. Robinson and her husband, Mark, at first suspected it was post-traumatic stress disorder.
Waterford seeks $9.2 million to upgrade schools: Township residents will vote Tuesday on a $9.2 million plan to upgrade local schools in the wake of a mold infestation. Among other improvements, the plan calls for new HVAC systems and controls at the district’s three elementary schools Atco, Thomas Richards and Waterford. The project also calls for new roofs at the Thomas Richards and Waterford schools, as well as asbestos abatement at Atco Elementary.
Lawmaker, families pleased with home repairs, mold an issue: Gone is the leaking, rotted ceiling over the bathtub and the toilet that was leveled with wooden shims. The squirrel-fouled attic crawl space has been cleaned out and patched up. The Quintela home in the Sandpiper Crescent Navy housing area in Virginia Beach, Va., is once again livable. It took a wave of negative publicity to get it fixed.
Mold forced officials to close the building
Around the house: ventilation to avoid mold or fungi