Aspergillosis is a disease that affects the respiratory system and is caused by a common type of mold, Aspergillus fumigatus, spread all over the world. Most people breathe mold spores daily without contracting the disease. However, people with weak immune systems or with previous medical conditions have a higher risk of developing severe forms of the disease.
L’invasive aspergillosis (AI) it is a severe form of aspergillosis that usually affects immunosuppressed people, who have undergone organ or stem cell transplants, who are affected by some diseases that affect the respiratory system (such as cystic fibrosis or Covid-19). We are better acquainted with this disease, its symptoms and the treatment to ward off the most severe forms of inflammation.
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Symptoms of AI
The symptomatology of invasive aspergillosis, at least in its early stages, it is common to that of other diseases of the respiratory system, and this makes an effective diagnosis in a short time even more difficult. The first symptoms that occur are in fact fever, cough that can cause blood to leak from the mouth (hemoptysis) and breathing difficulties such as shortness of breath or wheezing.
With the worsening of the disease and the progressive worsening of health conditions, the symptoms worsen and even include headaches, vision problems, joint or chest pains, skin lesions. If not treated in time and with the right medications, this form of aspergillosis it can lead to death.
Invasive aspergillosis is an insidious disease that is difficult to diagnose effectively before the symptoms are too severe. So far the diagnosis can only be confirmed through the identification of mold within tissue samples taken through the biopsy. Since tissue harvesting for diagnosis can already be dangerous, many patients receive empirical antifungal treatment without undergoing a biopsy.
However, even drug treatment with antifungal drugs is not without risks and carries several side effects. That is why efforts are being made to develop specific and reliable diagnostic tests, which can be used to signal the early onset of infection and enable correct and targeted drug treatment.
At the moment, the first attempts at diagnosis are being studied based on the study of the immune serum of patients in whom AI is suspected, to detect the possible presence of the antigen galactomannan; The advances made in the use of monoclonal antibodies to detect the distinctive molecules of infection are also of interest.
If you have respiratory conditions such as asthma or cystic fibrosis and if you feel a change in your breathing, it is important to speak to your doctor immediately: In the case of invasive aspergillosis, prompt treatment is essential.
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Fonti: Advances in Applied Microbiology / National Library of Medicine / CDC
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