Aspergillus fumigatus and aspergillosis

Clin Microbiol Rev. 1999 Apr;12(2):310-50. doi: 10.1128/CMR.12.2.310.


Aspergillus fumigatus is one of the most ubiquitous of the airborne saprophytic fungi. Humans and animals constantly inhale numerous conidia of this fungus. The conidia are normally eliminated in the immunocompetent host by innate immune mechanisms, and aspergilloma and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, uncommon clinical syndromes, are the only infections observed in such hosts. Thus, A. fumigatus was considered for years to be a weak pathogen. With increases in the number of immunosuppressed patients, however, there has been a dramatic increase in severe and usually fatal invasive aspergillosis, now the most common mold infection worldwide. In this review, the focus is on the biology of A. fumigatus and the diseases it causes. Included are discussions of (i) genomic and molecular characterization of the organism, (ii) clinical and laboratory methods available for the diagnosis of aspergillosis in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, (iii) identification of host and fungal factors that play a role in the establishment of the fungus in vivo, and (iv) problems associated with antifungal therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Fungal / analysis
  • Aspergillosis / diagnosis
  • Aspergillosis / immunology
  • Aspergillosis / therapy*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / classification*
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / immunology
  • Aspergillus fumigatus / pathogenicity
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Serologic Tests
  • Virulence


  • Antigens, Fungal