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Med Mycol. 2009;47 Suppl 1:S261-70. doi: 10.1080/13693780802247702. Epub 2008 Jul 24.

Differences in pathogenicity and clinical syndromes due to Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus flavus.

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Infection Control Department at Santa Casa Complexo Hospitalar, Porto Alegre, and Post-Graduation Program in Pulmonary Sciences, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Most of the information available about Aspergillus infections has originated from the study of A. fumigatus, the most frequent species in the genus. This review aims to compare the pathogenicity and clinical aspects of Aspergillosis caused by A. fumigatus an A. flavus. Experimental data suggests that A. flavus is more virulent than A. fumigatus. However, these were mostly models of disseminated Aspergillus infection which do not properly mimic the physiopathology of invasive aspergillosis, a condition that is usually acquired by inhalation. In addition, no conclusive virulence factor has been identified for Aspergillus species. A. flavus is a common cause of fungal sinusitis and cutaneous infections. Chronic conditions such as chronic cavitary pulmonary aspergillosis and sinuses fungal balls have rarely been associated with A. flavus. The bigger size of A. flavus spores, in comparison to those of A. fumigatus spores, may favour their deposit in the upper respiratory tract. Differences between these species justify the need for a better understanding of A. flavus infections.

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