Covid-19: All you need to know about pulmonary aspergillosis


In the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, a number of viral and fungal infections along with allergic reactions are also emerging as major concerns. At this time, when stress levels are already high, news reports about fungal infections among Covid patients only increase concern. And now, Pulmonary Aspergillosis is also widely being discussed.

To begin with, one has to understand these infections and allergic reactions occurring among Covid-infected patients rather than merely associating them with the virus. “The compromised capacity of lungs may cause a number of allergic reactions, viral infections, fungal infections, etc. As far as Covid is concerned, in severe cases, the very infection potentially damages the lungs and their functioning. Hence such patients become prone to many other infections and they need to be more cautious,” said Dr Shiba Kalyan Biswal, consultant, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Narayana Hospital, Gurugram.

What is Pulmonary Aspergillosis?

Pulmonary Aspergillosis is an allergic reaction caused by the Aspergillus species (Aspergillus Fumigatus). It may cause further damage depending on the severity any pre-existing disease in the patient. If not treated on time or left untreated, it may manifest into a number of other respiratory conditions. Pulmonary Aspergillosis may present in as frequent pain in the chest, fever, coughing with blood etc, breathing difficulty.

lungs, donor lungs, lung transplantation, older donor lungs, indian express, indian express news Pulmonary Aspergillosis may present in the form of frequent pain in chest, fever, coughing with blood etc, breathing difficulty. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

It is usually seen among

*Patients who had a long stay in ICU
*Malignancy patients
*Patients who underwent organ transplantation procedure
*Prolonged treatment on steroids

COVID and Pulmonary Aspergillosis

Steriods are administered to critically ill COVID patients. Some of these patients also have had prolonged long ICU stays.

Treatment of Pulmonary Aspergillosis

Pulmonary Aspergillosis seeks early diagnosis and intervention. Antifungal medication can be prescribed and in severe cases, it may need surgical intervention as well. Initially, some investigations like CT chest and blood tests are done, and the treatment is decided. It is treatable, although the residual damage caused to the lungs cannot be completely restored. Treatment needs to be given to protect the existing capacity of the lungs.

“Hence instead of associating Pulmonary Aspergillosis with Covid and triggering a sense of fear among patients, one has to be educated in this regard. Pulmonary Aspergillosis existed long before even COVID came, like other immunocompromised, patients undergoing severe treatment of Covid are prone to this infection. Covid has no direct association with Pulmonary Aspergillosis. It’s not about Covid rather compromised capacity of lungs and defense mechanism of the body,” said Dr Biswal.

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