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Indoor Aspergillus Fumigatus associated with Aspergillus Fumigatus growth in Sputum

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Aspergillus fumigatus is a common mold (fungus) found in many indoor and outdoor environments, including damp basements, foodstuffs and leaf compost. Aspergillus fumigatus can cause life-threatening systemic fungal infections in immunocompromised patients (such as those with HIV, some forms of cancer like leukemia and lymphoma, and those on immunosuppressant drugs for bone marrow or organ transplants). Aspergillus fumigatus produces a number of allergens which can worsen asthma and allergies when inhaled.
  In addition, Aspergillus fumigatus can cause localized infections in the respiratory tract (including the lungs and sputum) which can worsen asthma and cause a serious allergic condition called Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA).

A British study measured the levels of Aspergillus fumigatus in the sputum cultures of 58 adult asthma patients, along with mold (fungi) levels in the air and dust of their homes. Airborne levels of Aspergillus fumigatus were significantly higher in the homes of the 26 patients who had Aspergillus fumigatus growing in their sputum as compared to the homes of the 32 patients who tested negative for Aspergillus fumigatus sputum growth. Half of the patients (29 of 58) had high blood serum levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) to Aspergillus fumigatus.

Abbie Fairs et al. Isolation of Aspergillus fumigatus from sputum is associated with elevated airborne levels in homes of patients with asthma. Indoor Air, 2012 in Press.


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