Are Infections Caused by Aspergillus Fungi Developing Drug Resistance?

A study recently published in Clinical Infectious Diseases discovered azole-resistance markers in 75 percent of a small group of aspergillosis patients who had not previously been treated with an azole. The research was conducted by the University of Manchester working with colleagues in the United States.

Aspergillosis is the disease cause by Aspergillus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "There are many different kinds of aspergillosis. One kind is allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (also called ABPA), a condition where the fungus causes allergic respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing and coughing, but does not actually invade and destroy tissue. Another kind of aspergillosis is invasive aspergillosis, a disease that usually affects people with immune system problems. In this condition, the fungus invades and damages tissues in the body. Invasive aspergillosis most commonly affects the lungs, but can also cause infection in many other organs and can spread throughout the body."

Although the study group was small, the findings appear to indicate that there is a growing dissemination of drug-resistant strains of Aspergillus fungi. Azole antifungal agents are a common option for the treatment of systemic fungal infections, including for aspergillosis.

In healthcare environments the presence of this type of common fungi can lead to potentially deadly infections and those most at risk are typically people with a compromised immune system. "Due to the threat of infections from Aspergillus, a number of healthcare facilities now utilize UVGI technologies to help prevent these infections," says Richard Hayes, president of UltraViolet Devices, Inc. (UVDI), a leading provider of UV-C disinfection technologies. "Affordable room disinfection technologies currently exist that provide surface disinfection for not only fungi, but also for bacteria and viruses."