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Aspergillosis: The new post-COVID fungal infection

By HT School Web Desk,

This condition can affect both adults and children. However, it’s not as fatal as black fungus.

Aspergillosis is the new antifungal infection affecting COVID patients after recovery.

After black, white and yellow fungal infections, the new fungus that has started hitting COVID-recovered patients in our country is known as Aspergillus. The infection caused by it is known as Aspergillosis which can affect anyone from adults to kids. Recently, Vadodara doctors reported as many as 8 cases of aspergillosis, while Mumbai and Ghaziabad doctors have also detected this condition in some of their patients. Like black fungus, this infection too is found to affect people after their recovery from COVID-19. 

 What is Aspergillosis? 
As already mentioned, this is a fungal infection caused by a common mold (Aspergillus) when we inhale it. The mold exists in our everyday environment. Though most of us breathe in Aspergillus every day, it affects people with compromised immunity and a history of lung infection. Aspergillosis leads to allergic reactions and infections in different parts of the body including lungs. Though not as deadly as black fungus, this condition can be fatal too, apprehend doctors. However, Aspergillosis is not contagious. There are180 species of aspergillus of which 40 species may cause infection. 

Can kids get Aspergillosis? 
Children with chronic asthma, lung disorder can get Aspergillosis which may lead to allergic reactions and result in symptoms like wheezing, cough with brown mucus, and low-grade fever. Low immunity can also lead to this condition in kids, involving their sinuses and ear canals. In severe and rare cases, it can destroy the lungs and can even lead to death.  

Types of Aspergillosis 
This fungal infection is categorised into different types based on their location. Here’s a low-down on them: 

1. Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA): It causes lung inflammation leading to allergy symptoms such as coughing and wheezing.  

2. Allergic Aspergillus Sinusitis: In this condition, the fungus results in inflammation of the sinuses triggering symptoms like drainage, stuffiness and headache. 

3. Azole-resistant A Fumigatus: One species of Aspergillus is A Fumigatus, which is treated with azole-based antifungal medication. People with compromised immune systems can become resistant to this medicine. In such case, the infection is tough to treat and fatal.  

4. Aspergilloma: In this type of Aspergillosis, lungs and sinuses are affected. However, the infection doesn’t spread to other parts of the body.  

5. Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis: This condition leads to cavities in the lungs and can be a long-term condition. 

6. Invasive Aspergillosis: This type of Aspergillosis mostly attacks the lungs. People with a weak immune system, especially those who have undergone organ transplant or a stem therapy are mostly vulnerable to this condition.  

7. Skin Aspergillosis: Sometimes, Aspergillus sneaks into the body through a break in the skin (after a surgery or a burn wound) and triggers an infection.  

Symptoms to watch out for 
The manifestations vary according to the type of Aspergillosis one is suffering from. However, the common symptoms include:

  • Fever and chill 
  • Cough bringing up blood or mucus 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Unwanted weight loss 
  • Fatigue 
  • Chest or joint pain 
  • Headache 
  • Skin lesions 

Line of treatment 
This fungal infection is generally treated with antifungal medications like Voriconazole Isavuconazole. Surgical intervention may be needed in severe cases.   

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