Fungal Infections of the Lungs
Fungal infections of the lung pose significant problems in diagnosis and treatment. They mainly affect people living in certain geographic areas and those with immune deficiency. Their virulence varies from causing no symptoms to causing death. Aspergillosis, Candidiasis, and Cryptococcosis account for the majority of the direct health care cost compared to all other fungal diseases.
Aspergillosis is infection, usually of the lungs, caused by the fungus Aspergillus.
Aspergilli are very common in the environment—indoors and out—and frequently occur in compost heaps, air vents, and airborne dust. These fungi are thus unavoidable.
Usually, Aspergillosis is caused by inhaling Aspergillus spores. Most people inhale these spores every day without being affected. But if the immune system is weak, infection is more likely because Aspergillosis is an opportunistic fungal infection (one that takes advantage of a weakened immune system). The immune system may be weakened by the following:
- Disorders that affect the immune system, including AIDS and some hereditary disorders
- Cancer and chemotherapy
- Drugs such as corticosteroids, if high doses are taken for a long time
- Drugs used to prevent an organ transplant from being rejected.