Aspergillus is a genus consisting of a few hundred mould species found in various climates worldwide.
Aspergillosis is the group of diseases caused by Aspergillus. The most common species among paranasal sinus infections associated with aspergillosis is A. fumigatus. The symptoms include fever, cough, chest pain, or breathlessness, which also occur in many other illnesses, so diagnosis can be difficult. Usually, only patients with already weakened immune systems or who suffer other lung conditions are susceptible.
In humans, the major forms of disease are:
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, which affects patients with respiratory diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and sinusitis
Acute invasive aspergillosis, a form that grows into surrounding tissue, more common in those with weakened immune systems such as AIDS or chemotherapy patients
Disseminated invasive aspergillosis, an infection spread widely through the body
Aspergilloma, a “fungus ball” that can form within cavities such as the lung
Aspergillosis of the air passages is also frequently reported in birds, and certain species of Aspergillus have been known to infect insects.