Effects of Asperguillus


Aspergillus spp. is a type of fungus that forms spores. It is normally
found in soil, water, and decaying vegetation. In the hospital environment, the
spores settle in some part of the ventilation system. Spores are also stirred
up from construction and renovation. Additional sources of the fungal spores
could be contaminated or wet wood, bird droppings in air ducts, or decaying
fireproofing materials. The fungus causes pneumonia in a host with a weak or
otherwise compromised immune system. Patients at risk are those undergoing
organ transplant or bone marrow transplants, and depending on the type of
transplant, mortality rates are as high as 95%. Bone marrow transplant patients,
the highest risk group, should be treated like they are immunosuppressed for up
to four weeks after the procedure. The portal of entry is through the upper
respiratory track. The infection then becomes systemic and is spread into
multiple deep organs. Because few reliable tests are available for diagnosing
pneumonia due to Aspergillus, clinicians often use a lung biopsy. Blood culture
techniques fail because antibody responses in immunocompromised patients give
false indications of infection. Identification of a source of the fungi is
difficult, but can be determined through careful evaluation of each additional
case. A better solution is to develop protected areas for high risk patients.
These protected areas would have special air filtration systems that direct air
flow only in certain directions. The doors to these rooms would have vacuum
seals and would have a higher pressure inside than outside. The end goal of the
protected areas would be to increase air flow in the room to the point that the
air becomes essentially sterile and to maintain a clean environment. The costs
of implementing a “protected area” system may be prohibitively high.

Category: Science