WORLD ASPERGILLOSIS DAY
Every year on February 1st, World Aspergillosis Day aims to raise awareness about this under-diagnosed fungal infection. It’s also a day to educate the general public on the signs and symptoms of aspergillosis.
A common mold called Aspergillus causes the infection Aspergillosis. While it does grow indoors, this mold is typically found outdoors on plants and in the soil. Most healthy people can breathe in Aspergillus spores without any negative repercussions. However, for those with weakened immune systems, breathing in this mold can have serious consequences. Aspergillus can also be detrimental for those with underlying lung disease and asthma. For some, Aspergillus triggers an allergic reaction.
When a person gets sick from Aspergillus spores, the symptoms are similar to asthma and respiratory infections. For this reason, doctors have a hard time diagnosing Aspergillosis. Another thing that makes diagnosis difficult is that there are different types of aspergillosis. Some of the most common ones include:
- Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
- Allergic Aspergillus sinusitis
- Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis
- Cutaneous (skin) aspergillosis
When any type of aspergillosis is left untreated, it can cause invasive aspergillosis. This is the most serious form of aspergillosis. With invasive aspergillosis, the infection spreads to the blood vessels and various organs, including the brain and heart. Symptoms for invasive aspergillosis include fever, chills, shortness of breath, weight loss, headaches, skin lesions, and a cough that brings up blood.
About 1 in 300 people have aspergillosis. For many, this fungal infection is an invisible disease. Those that have it may not have any visible symptoms, but they struggle daily. Most people who have aspergillosis complain of daily fatigue, sleep disturbances, being breathless in public, coughing fits, and not having any energy.
HOW TO OBSERVE #WorldAspergillosisDay
On this day, those with aspergillosis are encouraged to share their stories with others. If you don’t know much about this fungal infection, take time to learn more about it. You can also donate to organizations that help fund research for aspergillosis. Be sure to help spread awareness for this disease by sharing #WorldAspergillosisDay on social media.
WORLD ASPERGILLOSIS DAY HISTORY
Patients at the National Aspergillosis Centre in Manchester, UK, created this day for aspergillosis awareness. The first World Aspergillosis Day took place on February 1, 2018.