Why Aspergillosis fungus is misdiagnosed as TB?

Aspergillosis is an infection, allergic reaction, or fungal growth caused by the Aspergillus fungus. Almost everyone encounters the fungus on a daily basis and never contracts the illness. It’s more likely to infect people who lack a crucial enzyme called periodixase. It can be wrongly diagnosed as tuberculosis (TB) or chronic inflammation as pathologist use H & E stain for slide in most medical centre as primary stain and sparsely distributed fungus is often missed out

Why Aspergillosis fungus is misdiagnosed as TB?

Have you ever suffered from a nasal inflammation or an inflammation around the cheeks and eyes? Your doctor must have told you that it’s a simple routine infection, and he must have prescribed medicines as well. The resistance power of the immune system, fights with the disease and stops it from spreading any further.

But, there are a few people, who are immunocompetent, which means they have the bodily resistance, but lack a crucial enzyme, which protects the body, from getting the fungal infection.

Amit Parikh (name changed) a resident of Madhya Pradesh, was suffering from inflammation near his nose. After taking medicines from local doctor, in the month of March, he visited Mumbai’s state-run Sir JJ Group of Hospitals, to seek further treatment for his inflamed nose which had not improved with previous medication.

Doctors from the hospital’s ENT department diagnosed Amit’s inflamed nose with Aspergillosis fungus.

This fungus generally targets those patients who are immunocompetent, and causes a fungal infection.

While speaking to My Medical Mantra, Dr Sriniwas Chavan, Prof and Head of ENT department of Sir JJ Group of Hospitals said, “Aspergillosis fungus is a very rare condition. Doctors or pathologist use H&E stain for the testing purposes. And many a times doctors and pathologist, mistake for tuberculosis (TB). Then, the patient is subjected to AKT or anti-TB drugs. And the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, in turn cause immunity issues to the patient.”

What is Aspergillosis fungus? 

  • It spread through the air while we breathe.
  • It attacks those who are immunocompetent, but lack crucial enzyme periodixase necessary to kill the fungus enzyme, which protects the body, from getting the fungal infection.
  • Generally, inflammation is observed near nose, eyes and cheeks.
  • But the inflammation is the cover formed by the protector cells, from spreading the infection further.

Dr Chavan further says, “TB medicines act as anti-inflammatory medicines. For a period of time, the inflammation reduces but recurs later. But, the threat is that when the inflammation reduces, it is likely to spread in the other parts of the body as well. I have seen four such cases, where patients with Aspergillosis fungus, where prescribed TB drugs.”

In order to make doctors and pathologist aware about the disease, Dr Chavan has done extensive study, and has published a research paper on this as well.

Dr Chavan says, “I want to appeal to all doctors and pathologist, that while doing the testing they should use state-of-art machinery, so that there will not be mistake. Pathologists should use special stain PAS stain in case of doubt before reporting as tuberculosis.”