J. Fungi2016, 2(2), 19; doi:10.3390/jof2020019 - published 13 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Invasive aspergillosis (IA) is a disease of increasing importance in pediatrics due to growth of the immunocompromised populations at risk and improvements in long-term survival for many of these groups. While general principles of diagnosis and therapy apply similarly across the age spectrum, there are unique considerations for clinicians who care for children and adolescents with IA. This review will highlight important differences in the epidemiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and therapy of pediatric IA.
Abstract: Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA) is estimated to affect 3 million people worldwide making it an under recognised, but significant health problem across the globe, conferring significant morbidity and mortality. With variable disease forms, high levels of associated respiratory co-morbidity, limited therapeutic options and prolonged treatment strategies, CPA is a challenging disease for both patients and healthcare professionals. CPA can mimic smear-negative tuberculosis (TB), pulmonary histoplasmosis or coccidioidomycosis. Cultures for Aspergillus are usually negative, however, the detection of Aspergillus IgG is a simple and sensitive test widely used in diagnosis. When a fungal ball/aspergilloma is visible radiologically, the diagnosis has been made late. Sometimes weight loss and fatigue are predominant symptoms; pyrexia is rare. Despite the efforts of the mycology community, and significant strides being taken in optimising the care of these patients, much remains to be learnt about this patient population, the disease itself and the best use of available therapies, with the development of new therapies being a key priority. Here, current knowledge and practices are reviewed, and areas of research priority highlighted.
Abstract: Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), a progressive fungal allergic lung disease, is a common complication of asthma or cystic fibrosis. Although ABPA has been recognized since the 1950s, recent research has underscored the importance of Th2 immune deviation and granulocyte activation in its pathogenesis. There is also strong evidence of widespread under-diagnosis due to the complexity and lack of standardization of diagnostic criteria. Treatment has long focused on downregulation of the inflammatory response with prolonged courses of oral glucocorticosteroids, but more recently concerns with steroid toxicity and availability of new treatment modalities has led to trials of oral azoles, inhaled amphotericin, pulse intravenous steroids, and subcutaneously-injected anti-IgE monoclonal antibody omalizumab, all of which show evidence of efficacy and reduced toxicity.
Abstract: Non-pneumonia Pneumocystis jirovecii colonization is thought to occur frequently in immunocompetent individuals. The aim was to analyze if P. jirovecii low-titer detections have more impact than just colonization. From our total cohort of patients for which P. jirovecii testing by qPCR was requested, we selected exclusively those that were fully immunocompetent. Patients were defined as fully immunocompetent if they did not receive immunosuppressive therapy, displayed regular antibody titers, and did not suffer from acquired, inherited or autoimmune diseases. Only those patients with complete medical records available were included. A retrospective analysis identified patients with P. jirovecii colonization and successful antibiotic therapy in response to laboratory pathogen detection. We identified 30 fully immunocompetent patients with P. jirovecii colonization suspected to suffer from infection with the pathogen, but with milder symptoms than pneumonia. All patients were successfully treated with cotrimoxazole against P. jirovecii and resolved from chronic cough and recurrent pulmonary infections. The fact that all patients displayed recovery from their clinical symptoms gives raise to the hypothesis that P. jirovecii infections may also occur in immunocompetent patients but with milder symptoms.
Abstract: Patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD) have the highest life-time incidence of invasive aspergillosis and despite the availability of antifungal prophylaxis, infections by Aspergillus species remain the single most common infectious cause of death in CGD. Recent developments in curative treatment options, such as haematopoietic stem cell transplantation, will change the prevalence of infectious complications including invasive aspergillosis in CGD patients. However, invasive aspergillosis in a previously healthy host is often the first presenting feature of this primary immunodeficiency. Recognizing the characteristic clinical presentation and understanding how to diagnose and treat invasive aspergillosis in CGD is of utmost relevance to improve clinical outcomes. Significant differences exist in fungal epidemiology, clinical signs and symptoms, and the usefulness of non-culture based diagnostic tools between the CGD host and neutropenic patients, reflecting underlying differences in the pathogenesis of invasive aspergillosis shaped by the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-oxidase deficiency.
Abstract: AIDS-related cryptococcal meningitis continues to cause a substantial burden of death in low and middle income countries. Better diagnostics allow detection of cryptococcosis in the asymptomatic phase and using these technologies to screen at-risk persons would likely reduce mortality. The World Health Organization recommends cryptococcal antigen screening among populations with a prevalence of cryptococcal antigenaemia (CRAG) > 3%. There is scarce data about CRAG prevalence in Latin America. Four studies (only one published as a full text) showed asymptomatic CRAG prevalence between 2.7% and 6.2% in several sub-sets of HIV-infected patients. The CRAG lateral flow assay (LFA) has several advantages over other techniques for actual implementation of a screening program. Although more studies are necessary to confirm available data, implementation of the CRAG screening strategy seems to be opportune in Latin America.