- July 9, 2016
- Posted by: emobile
- Category: News
Emobileclinic Health News
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) have updated guidelines for the diagnosis and management of aspergillosis and published them in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases. Aspergillosis is an infection caused by the common mold or fungus Aspergillus that is everywhere, both indoors and outdoors. It can be found, for instance, in air conditioning units, compost heaps, and damp or flood-damaged homes and buildings.
Most of us breathe in Aspergillus spores every day without getting sick. However, for people with lung diseases or weakened immune systems, exposure to Aspergillus can lead to health problems – such as allergic reactions, lung infections, and infections in other organs.
This updated guidelines concern three major forms of aspergillosis: allergic, chronic pulmonary, and invasive. The allergic form is most common and affects millions of people worldwide. Those with asthma and cystic fibrosis are at highest risk of developing allergic aspergillosis.
While acknowledging that improvements in therapies have led to better care of patients with invasive aspergillosis – a potentially deadly fungal infection – new practice guidelines emphasize that there remains a critical need for early diagnosis. Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis, which affects healthy people, occurs in about 400,000 people worldwide.
Although they require treatment, the allergic and chronic forms of aspergillosis rarely kill. However, invasive aspergillosis, which affects about 200,000 people worldwide, kills 40-80 percent of those with widespread infection.
Aspergillosis is a number of complicated infections with a number of treatment options. Patients really benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, including the expertise of an infectious disease specialist, says the lead author of new guidelines. He further adds that “These are complicated infections with a number of treatment options. Patients really benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, including the expertise of an infectious disease specialist.”
Improved diagnostic tools have enabled doctors to diagnose invasive aspergillosis early. However, the new guidelines – which update the 2008 guidelines – highlight the increased evidence for antifungal therapy recommendations as well as diagnostic tests. The new diagnostic methods include blood tests, cultures, and computed tomography (CT) imaging. Some of these are invasive, and doctors may be reluctant to use them. For example, cultures require samples taken directly from the lungs. However, Prof. Patterson urges doctors to be aggressive in diagnosing patients suspected of having invasive aspergillosis because the infection could be life-threatening.
The IDSA urge all practitioners using the guidelines to understand they cannot account for individual variation and are not a substitute for their professional judgment. Adherence is voluntary and should be made in the light of each patient’s circumstances, they note.“Invasive aspergillosis often is overlooked, but early diagnosis and treatment are key.”