Detecting Fungus in the CF Patient Environment A Rising Concern

Detecting Fungus in the CF Patient Environment A Rising Concern

fungus infection in CF patientsIn light of the news that almost 50% of cystic fibrosis patients are infected with Aspergillus mold, health leaders are reminding patients that it is important to limit exposure to agents that can cause infection for patients with cystic fibrosis. Certain services exist for patients interested in testing their environment for Aspergillus and other microorganisms.

“It is not healthy for anyone to be exposed to high levels of Aspergillus, but this new research sheds light on the need for those with cystic fibrosis to be especially vigilant,” said Jason Dobranic, PhD, Vice President of Microbiology and Life Sciences at LA Testing and EMSL Analytical, Inc., in a news release from the company. LA Testing, based in California, where a large percentage of the estimated 30,000 children with cystic fibrosis live, conducts indoor air quality testing for a number of chemicals and biologicals.

By detecting and limiting exposure to Aspergillus, an individual’s risk for developing aspergillosis is greatly decreased. Aspergillosis, which presents in many different forms, sometimes only causes symptoms and other times causes tissue damage. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) causes wheezing and coughing but does not invade or destroy tissue. Invasive aspergillosis causes damage to tissues–usually the lungs of patients with weakened immune symptoms.

For cystic fibrosis patients who have already been affected with ABPA, a new treatment option is being investigated at RWTH Aachen University’s University Hospital in Germany. A recent report, published online ahead of print in Therapeutic Advances in Respiratory Disease, entitled “Omalizumab: A New Treatment Option for Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis in Patients with Cystic Fibrosis,” conducted a retrospective study of six patients with concurrent ABPA and cystic fibrosis who had been treated with omalizumab. The observation period was 7.5 years. During and after treatment, all patients showed clinical and laboratory stability of disease, with some patients showing improvements.

[adrotate group=”1″]

The researchers noted that “Early onset treatment may be beneficial and patients with early stage of lung disease seem to benefit more,” suggesting that early disease detection is vital. Patients who find their environments are enriched in Aspergillus through air quality testing may have a better chance of being diagnosed and treated sooner.

One comment

  1. Stacy French says:

    When lodging an air quality concern, and suggesting it be tested for mold, with a hospital in a southern state of the United States, I was told, “well, you’re in the South you know and there is a lot more moisture here”…. I subsequently said, “yes, but you don’t put sick people in a moldy enviormen, and the air quality needs to be tested”…
    I found it rather glib of the person to suggest it is something to be expected… My stay was on the Cystic Fibrosis floor. I have ABPA.. I am extremely sensitive to mold, (although I have lost my sense of smell) I can actually feel it on my mouth as well as the reaction in sinuses and throat. Many people cannot smell it, especially when they work in it.. they become used to the smell. There must be testing in old structures and hospitals in the Southern United States in order to correct mold in the air. Sadly, I do not believe my concerns will be taken seriously with the hospital I spoke with.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *