Effects of Aspergillosis, nosocomial infections

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 1996

download word file, 1 pages 3.0

Aspergillus spp. is a type of fungus that forms spores. It is normally found in soil,

water, and decaying vegetation. In the hospital environment, the spores settle in some

part of the ventilation system. Spores are also stirred up from construction and

renovation. Additional sources of the fungal spores could be contaminated or wet wood,

bird droppings in air ducts, or decaying fireproofing materials. The fungus causes

pneumonia in a host with a weak or otherwise compromised immune system. Patients at

risk are those undergoing organ transplant or bone marrow transplants, and depending on

the type of transplant, mortality rates are as high as 95%. Bone marrow transplant

patients, the highest risk group, should be treated like they are immunosuppressed for up

to four weeks after the procedure. The portal of entry is through the upper respiratory

track. The infection then becomes systemic and is spread into multiple deep organs.

Because few reliable tests are available for diagnosing pneumonia due to Aspergillus,

clinicians often use a lung biopsy. Blood culture techniques fail because antibody

responses in immunocompromised patients give false indications of infection.

Identification of a source of the fungi is difficult, but can be determined through careful

evaluation of each additional case. A better solution is to develop protected areas for high

risk patients. These protected areas would have special air filtration systems that direct air

flow only in certain directions. The doors to these rooms would have vacuum seals and

would have a higher pressure inside than outside. The end goal of the protected areas

would be to increase air flow in the room to the point that the air becomes essentially

sterile and to maintain a clean environment. The costs of implementing a "protected area"

system may be prohibitively high.