Nearly 15,000 Vietnamese suffer invasive pulmonary lung infection annually

By Le Nga   February 20, 2020 | 04:38 pm PT
Nearly 15,000 Vietnamese suffer invasive pulmonary lung infection annually
A photomicrograph of Aspergillus fumigatus. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vietnam leads the world in the number of invasive pulmonary lung infection with approximately 15,000 patients affected each year, mainly caused by Aspergillus.

Nguyen Viet Nhung, director of the National Lung Hospital, shared the statistic Wednesday during a health conference relating to World Aspergillosis Awareness Day (February 27).

Aspergillosis is a disease caused by Aspergillus, a common mold that lives in- and outdoors. It has several types, including invasive aspergillosis (a serious infection in those with weakened immune systems), chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (cavities in the lungs, and can be a long-term condition) and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (inflammation of the lungs and allergy symptoms such as coughing and wheezing, but doesn't cause infection).

Vietnam is ranked fifth in the world in terms of chronic pulmonary aspergillosis with over 55,000 cases reported annually.

Aspergillus fungus only affects those with weakened immune systems, causing fever, coughing with sputum, dyspnea, chest pain, fatigue, and cachexia.

It is highly recommended that patients treat aspergillosis as soon as possible via antifungal medication in combination with other measures like surgery. Treatment must occur over a period of three months.

"The associated mortality rate is about 50-70 percent. When the invasive fungus spreads, it can destroy the entire lung system, causing rapid death," Nhung said.

Globally, there are nearly 14.6 million cases, causing 1.6 million deaths annually, equivalent to the number from tuberculosis, and triple that from malaria. Many countries do not have the resources to diagnose and treat this disease.

Vietnam, among the top nations in terms of detection, still faces many difficulties in early diagnosis due to inadequate testing methods and a lax attitude towards the disease.

Doctors advise avoiding dusty areas like construction sites and the wearing of face masks. People should avoid working in the yard or garden, and wear protective gloves when handling materials such as soil, moss or manure.

If injured, clean wounded skin with soap and water to avoid fungus invasion, they said.

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