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Diagnosing mucormycosis can be challenging. Currently, there are no serological or PCR-based tests available to identify these infections. Tissue biopsy specimens must be examined for the presence of the fungal pathogens. The causative agents, however, are often difficult to distinguish from other filamentous fungi. Infections are typically treated by the intravenous administration of amphotericin B , and superficial infections are removed by surgical debridement. Since the patients are often immunocompromised, viral and bacterial secondary infections commonly develop. Mortality rates vary depending on the site of the infection, the causative fungus, and other factors, but a recent study found an overall mortality rate of 54%. MM Roden et al. “Epidemiology and Outcome of Zygomycosis: A Review of 929 Reported Cases.” Clinical Infectious Diseases 41 no. 5 (2005):634–653.

  • Compare the modes of transmission for coccidioidomycosis, blastomycosis, and mucormycosis.
  • In general, which are more serious: the pulmonary or disseminated forms of these infections?

Aspergillosis

Aspergillus is a common filamentous fungus found in soils and organic debris. Nearly everyone has been exposed to this mold, yet very few people become sick. In immunocompromised patients, however, Aspergillus may become established and cause aspergillosis . Inhalation of spores can lead to asthma-like allergic reactions. The symptoms commonly include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, runny nose, and headaches. Fungal balls, or aspergilloma, can form when hyphal colonies collect in the lungs ( [link] ). The fungal hyphae can invade the host tissues, leading to pulmonary hemorrhage and a bloody cough. In severe cases, the disease may progress to a disseminated form that is often fatal. Death most often results from pneumonia or brain hemorrhages.

Laboratory diagnosis typically requires chest radiographs and a microscopic examination of tissue and respiratory fluid samples. Serological tests are available to identify Aspergillus antigens. In addition, a skin test can be performed to determine if the patient has been exposed to the fungus. This test is similar to the Mantoux tuberculin skin test used for tuberculosis. Aspergillosis is treated with intravenous antifungal agents, including itraconazole and voriconazole . Allergic symptoms can be managed with corticosteroids because these drugs suppress the immune system and reduce inflammation. However, in disseminated infections, corticosteroids must be discontinued to allow a protective immune response to occur.

An X ray showing white bones on a black background. White webbing in the upper lung is circled.
A fungal ball can be observed in the upper lobe of the right lung in this chest radiograph of a patient with aspergilloma. (credit: modification of work by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Pneumocystis Pneumonia

A type of pneumonia called Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) is caused by Pneumocystis jirovecii . Once thought to be a protozoan, this organism was formerly named P. carinii but it has been reclassified as a fungus and renamed based on biochemical and genetic analyses. Pneumocystis is a leading cause of pneumonia in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and can be seen in other compromised patients and premature infants. Respiratory infection leads to fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Diagnosis of these infections can be difficult. The organism is typically identified by microscopic examination of tissue and fluid samples from the lungs ( [link] ). A PCR-based test is available to detect P. jirovecii in asymptomatic patients with AIDS. The best treatment for these infections is the combination drug trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMZ). These sulfa drugs often have adverse effects, but the benefits outweigh these risks. Left untreated, PCP infections are often fatal.

Questions & Answers

full life cycle of plasmodium parasite
Emmah Reply
what are ways of handling sharps
namugenyi Reply
never recap or bend a sharp objects
benita
describe the process of platelet formation
Joy Reply
what is parasitic helminths
Sadiya Reply
list three categories of symbiotic relationships.
mary Reply
what's the difference between microbial intoxication and infectious diseases
dranimva Reply
microbial intoxication results when a person ingests a toxin or a poisonous substance that has been produced by a microbe while infectious disease results when a pathogen colonize the body and subsequently cause disease.
mary
weighing balance is needed in lab of microbiology for weighing?
amna Reply
It is mainly used for media preparation and product testing purpose.
Nakaweesi
thank you for your joining
nuur
what is microbiology
Shamsuddeen Reply
study of living organisms that are too small to be visible with naked eye
Marah
yes
Ahmed
microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, either unicellular(single cell), multicellular( cell colony), or acellular (lacking cell).
munachimso
is the word Atypical or a typical bacteria. .am confused pliz help
MUWANGUZI Reply
typical bacteria
Zulpha
okay thank you what does that mean
MUWANGUZI
atypical means that it has some characters from bacteria not all characters ...but tybical means that it has all the characters that bacteria have
Reham
thank you Zulpha
MUWANGUZI
some examples please
MUWANGUZI
thank you Reham
MUWANGUZI
1) typical bacteria contain a cell wall whereas atypical bacteria usually do not contain a cell . 2) typical bacteria can be either Gram-positive or Gram-negative while atypical bacteria remain colorless with Gram staining. 3) cells of typical bacteria are large ,while cells of the atypical small
Marah
Example of atypical : Mycoplasma pneumoniae , chlamydophila pneumoniae , legionella
Marah
what is micro biology
Jauharah Reply
is the study of organisms which can't be viewed by our necked eyes
Egumat
Because it preexisting causing secondary infection after collateral damage of normal microbota
Rafaa Reply
combinations of drugs that can't be taken together and why
Grace Reply
Antagonism: the combined action is less than that of the more effective agent when used alone). All these effects may be observed in vitro (particularly in terms of bactericidal rate) and in vivo والله اعلم
Lenovo
....fermentros have 1-15litre capacity
AMAR Reply
which of the following microorganisms are classified as eukaryotic?
Semugab Reply
how do I see the list?
Melissa
what are the choices?
Melissa
dear tell us the choices
MUWANGUZI
mr semugab give us the list please
Nambi
Fungi
munachimso
what are the new discoveries of microorganisms
Ezibon Reply
bacteriology,viriology,micrology
Egumat

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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