What is Aspergillosis and what causes it?

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aspergillus fumigatus heads and sporesAspergillosis is a disease caused by the fungus Aspergillus. Aspergillus is a type of mold present practically everywhere both indoors and outdoors. Spores of Aspergillus are present in the air so most people breathe them in every day. It’s almost impossible to completely avoid breathing in some Aspergillus spores. However, inhaled spores do not normally cause illness to healthy individuals. People with weak immune system and allergies are more prone to Aspergillus induced infections in the lungs or sinuses which can spread to other parts of the body.

The common Aspergillus infections include invasive Aspergillosis, non-invasive Allergic Pulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA), and Chronic Pulmonary and Aspergilloma (CPA). Depending on the type and severity of aspergillosis, affected individuals suffer from a range of symptoms including wheezing, difficulty in breathing, runny nose, coughing and weight loss. Severe bleeding in lungs and systemic infections are also often seen.

Causes of Aspergillosis

As mentioned earlier, aspergillosis is caused by the fungus Aspergillus. There are about 180 species of Aspergillus but only a few of them are known to cause infections in humans. Aspergillus fumigatus is the most common cause of aspergillosis. Other possible causes of aspergillosis include Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus terreus, and Aspergillus niger.

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Dr Jackson Kung'u
Dr. Jackson Kung’u is a Microbiologist who has specialized in the field of mycology (the study of moulds and yeasts). He is a member of the Mycological Society of America. He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a PhD in Microbiology. He has published several research papers in international scientific journals. Jackson has analyzed thousands of mould samples from across Canada. He also regularly teaches a course on how to recognize mould, perform effective sampling and interpret laboratory results. Jackson provides how-to advice on mould and bacteria issues. Get more information about indoor mould and bacteria at www.drjacksonkungu.com.

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