First Case of Invasive Stachybotrys Sinusitis

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Apr 26;72(8):1386-1391. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciaa231.


Background: The toxigenic mold Stachybotrys has controversially been linked to idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage and "sick building syndrome." However, there are no previous clinical records of invasive stachybotryosis.

Methods: Sinus biopsy specimens from a 23-year-old male with refractory acute lymphocytic leukemia were obtained at 3 different time points during the patient's hospitalization (139 days) and examined by histopathology and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Antifungal susceptibility testing and fungal speciation using multilocus sequence typing were performed.

Results: Hemorrhage, fungal germination, and hyphal growth were observed in the first sinus biopsy tissues. Areas with fungal growth tested positive for Stachybotrys by IHC. Fungal isolates were genotyped and identified as Stachybotrys chlorohalonata. The patient was cured from Stachybotrys sinusitis following sinus surgery and antifungal treatment. While a subsequent second sinus biopsy and a bronchoscopy showed no signs of fungal infection, a later, third sinus biopsy tested positive for Aspergillus calidoustus, a rare human pathogen.

Conclusions: Here, we report the first case of invasive S. chlorohalonata sinusitis that was surgically and medically cured but followed by invasive A. calidoustus sinusitis in the setting of refractory leukemia. Our findings emphasize the risk for unusual fungal infections in severely immunocompromised patients.

Keywords: Stachybotrys; Stachybotrys chlorohalonata; immunohistochemistry; invasive stachybotryosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspergillus
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mycoses* / diagnosis
  • Mycoses* / drug therapy
  • Sinusitis* / diagnosis
  • Stachybotrys*
  • Young Adult

Supplementary concepts

  • Aspergillus calidoustus
  • Stachybotrys chlorohalonata