What is it?
Aspergillosis is a fungal infection. It can occur in people with suppressed or healthy immune system. In people with healthy immune systems, it usually causes mild or moderate lung problems. In people with suppressed immune system, aspergillosis can cause serious lung problems and can also spread to other organs, including the kidneys, liver, skin, bones, and brain. As these more severe forms of aspergillosis can be life-threatening, it is important to diagnose and treat this infection quickly.
Aspergillosis is rare among HIV-positive people, more so now that the combination of anti-HIV therapy is available. It is most common among people who have neutropenia - a low level of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. This type of immune suppression is not seen in people with HIV. It usually occurs in patients treated with cancer or immune-suppressing powerful drugs after receiving an organ transplant.
Aspergillosis is caused by the AspergillusA group of fungi. It is very difficult to avoid these fungi because they are found in the environment. The Aspergillus can be found in soil, decaying plants, in house dust, construction materials, ornamental plants, food and water. Dirt, dust, or other materials containing the Aspergillus can travel easily through the air and be inhaled into the lungs. People who smoke marijuana, which may contain the spores of Aspergillus, May be at even greater risk of aspergillosis.