Your risk of developing aspergillosis depends on your overall health and the extent of your exposure to mold. In general, these factors make you more vulnerable to infection:
Aug. 05, 2014
- Weakened immune system. People taking immune-suppressing drugs after undergoing transplant surgery — especially bone marrow or stem cell transplants — or people who have certain cancers of the blood are at highest risk of invasive aspergillosis. People in the later stages of AIDS also may be at increased risk.
- Low white blood cell level. Having chemotherapy, an organ transplant or leukemia lowers your white cell level, making you more susceptible to invasive aspergillosis. So does having chronic granulomatous disease — an inherited disorder that affects immune system cells.
- Lung cavities. People who have healed air spaces (cavities) in their lungs are at higher risk of developing a mass of tangled fungus fibers (aspergilloma). Cavities are areas that have been damaged by radiation to the lung or by lung diseases such as tuberculosis or sarcoidosis — a noncancerous, inflammatory illness.
- Asthma or cystic fibrosis. People with asthma and cystic fibrosis, especially those whose lung problems are long-standing or hard to control, are more likely to have an allergic response to aspergillus mold.
- Long-term corticosteroid therapy. Long-term use of corticosteroids may increase the risk of opportunistic infections, depending on the underlying disease being treated and what other drugs are being used.
- Aspergillosis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/aspergillosis/. Accessed Nov. 12, 2013.
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- Marr KA. Treatment and prevention of invasive aspergillosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.
- Treatment of aspergillosis. Arlington, Va.: Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2008;46:327.
- Marr KA. Epidemiology and clinical manifestations of of invasive aspergillosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 11, 2013.
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