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Ci Ji Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2019 Jul-Sep;31(3):149-153. doi: 10.4103/tcmj.tcmj_46_18.

Phenotypic profile of pulmonary aspergillosis and associated cellular immunity among people living with human immunodeficiency virus in Maiduguri, Nigeria.

Author information

Department of Medical Laboratory Services, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja, Nigeria.
Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.
Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medical Laboratory Science, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria.
Department of Medical Laboratory Science, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria.



Aspergillus causes many forms of pulmonary infectious diseases ranging from colonization (noninvasive) to invasive aspergillosis. This largely depends on the underlying host's lung health and immune status. Pulmonary aspergillosis (PA), especially the invasive form, occurs as opportunistic to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as a result of cluster of differentiation (CD)4+ lymphopenia. The majority of patients with comorbid HIV and aspergillosis go undiagnosed. This study aimed to isolate, identify the etiologies, and determine the prevalence of PA among HIV-infected persons with a productive cough (at least <2 weeks) at the HIV Clinics of the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.

Materials and Methods:

After ethical approval, three consecutive early morning sputum samples were collected from patients with negative tuberculosis results. The samples were individually inoculated onto Sabouraud dextrose agar supplemented with chloramphenicol and cycloheximide in duplicate for 7 days at 37°C and 25°C, respectively. The fungal isolates were examined morphologically and microscopically and identified using the standard biochemical reagents. CD4+ cell counts were performed using flow cytometry. Self-administered questionnaires were used to assess the patients data. All patients were antiretroviral naïve.


The prevalence of PA was 12.7% in these 150 patients. Of the 19 fungal culture-positive individuals, Aspergillus fumigatus accounted for the highest proportion of the isolates (8, 42.1%) followed by Aspergillus niger (5, 26.3%), Aspergillus flavus (4, 21.1%), and Aspergillus terreus (2, 10.5%). Based on the assessment of functionality of cellular immunity, HIV participants who were negative for PA (131/150) had significantly higher mean ± standard deviation CD4 T-cell counts (245.65 ± 178.32 cells/mL) than those with aspergillosis (126.13 ± 105.27 cells/mL) (P = 0.0051). PA was relatively highest among patients with CD4+ cell counts <200 cells/mL (12. 34.3%) followed by those with CD4+ cell counts between 200 and 350 cells/mL (5, 9.6%) and least among those with CD4+ cell counts >350 cells/mL (2, 3.2%). The Chi-square test showed a significant association between the prevalence of PA and the CD4+ cell count, age, and gender (P < 0.05) but not with occupation or education level (P > 0.05).


The findings from this study indicate that Aspergillus spp. is a significant etiology of acute productive cough in people living with HIV and this is related to the CD4+ cell count of coinfected persons.


Aspergillus; Chest diseases; Coinfection; Human immunodeficiency virus

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