by Polsdorfer R


Aspergillosis is an infection or reaction due to a type of fungus. It can lead to severe lung problems.

There are several types:

  • Pulmonary—More apt to form in those with long term lung problems.
  • Invasive—Travels from the lungs to the bloodstream. It is very serious and can affect other organs.
  • Allergic—Airways get inflamed due to an allergy to the fungus.


Aspergillosis is caused by a certain type of fungus. The fungus is often found on soil, plants, and rotting vegetables. Spores of the fungus can be released into the air. It is then inhaled into the lungs. The immune system can get rid of the fungus in most people. Aspergillosis happens if the immune system is not working properly. The fungus is able to grow and cause an infection.

In some people the fungus causes an allergic reaction.

Inhalation of Spores
Spores in lungs
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Risk Factors

Things that raise the risk of aspergillosis are:

Things that raise the risk of the allergic type are:

  • A personal or family history of:
  • Asthma, hay fever, and eczema
  • Cystic fibrosis
Asthma in Lungs
Asthma lung
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Symptoms may include:

  • A long term wet cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever
  • Wheezing or problems breathing
  • Chest pain


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. An infection will be suspected based on symptoms. Blood, urine, and coughed up fluids may also be tested. They can help to find the cause of the infection. The results will help to guide treatment.

The doctor may also need to see how much of the lung is involved. Tests may include:


The goal of treatment is to clear the infection or inflammation. It is also to prevent harm to the lungs or any other organs. Treatment may include:

  • Medicines to treat the fungal infection
  • Steroids by mouth or inhaled—for an allergic reaction
  • Surgery—to remove a large mass of fungus, not always needed


The fungus that causes this condition is everywhere. It is common in soil or compost. The fungus can also be found in mildew in moist areas of home. Those at risk should:

  • Avoid close contact with soil or compost
  • Avoid construction and renovation sites
  • Take steps to keep their homes mildew-free

Some people have a very high risk of infections. The doctor may give them long-term antifungal medicine.


American Lung Association 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 


Health Canada 

The Lung Association 


Allergic brocnhopulmonary aspergillosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 27, 2022.

Aspergillosis. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: Accessed April 27, 2022

Cadena J, Thompson GR 3rd, et al. Aspergillosis: epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2021;35(2):415-434.

Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 27, 2022.

Invasive aspergillosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed April 27, 2022.

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