Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Aspergillus fumigatus

Contributor(s): Richard Walker




  • Kingdom:Fungi.
  • Division:Amastigomycota.
  • Order:Eurotiales.
  • Genus:Aspergillus.
  • Species:fumigatus.


  • L:asperge- to sprinkle;fumus- smoke.

Active Forms

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Clinical Effects



  • Grows abundantly in decaying vegetation, sewage sludge, compost, decomposing wood chips, and moldy hay.
  • A. fumigatusbecomes predominant over competing microbes in fermented plant material.


  • Aspergillusmolds consist of septate hyphae and asexual fruiting bodies borne on conidiophores.
  • Hyphal branches originate in a foot cell in the mycelium and end in an expanding vesicle covered by a layer of phialides from which chains of conidia (asexual reproductive units) arise.
  • Only mycelium is seen in tissues.


  • Inhalation or ingestion from the environment.

Pathological effects

  • Depends on impaired defenses in host to assume pathogenic role.
  • Produces hemolysins, proteolytic enzymes and other toxic factors but their role in pathogenesis is not known.
  • Horses: guttural pouch mycosis   Guttural pouch: mycosis  , nasal granulomas, mycotic keratitis   Keratitis: mycotic  , equine asthma Equine asthma, intestinal disease in foals.
  • Dogs: otitis externa (often mixed infection), chronic rhinitis (nasal aspergillosis).
  • Cattle: abortion, pneumonia, mastitis, intestinal disease in calves.
  • Birds: pneumonia, air sacculitis and other respiratory tract infections, encephalitis, ocular infections.
  • Humans: local infection, generalized infection and allergic reactions (often affects immunocompromised patients).
  • Cats: rare, pneumonia.

Other Host Effects

  • Opportunistic pathogen.


Control via chemotherapies


  • Not available.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Schmallenbach K H et al (1998) Studies on pulmonary and systemic Aspergillus fumigatus-specific IgE and IgG antibodies in horses affected with recurrent airway obstruction (RAO). Vet Immunol Immunopathol 66 (3-4), 245-256.
  • Andrew S Eet al (1998) Equine ulcerative keratomycosis - visual outcome and ocular survival in 39 cases (1987-1996). Equine Vet J 30 (2), 109-116 PubMed.
  • Carrasco L et al (1996) Chronic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in a horse with Cushing's syndrome. Mycoses 39 (11-12), 443-447 PubMed.
  • Aho R et al (1991) Mycotic keratitis in a horse caused by Aspergillus fumigatus. The first reported case in Finland. Acta Vet Scand 32 (3), 373-376 VetMedResource.
  • Slocombe R F et al (1988) Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis of horses - an association with acute enteritis. Vet Pathol 25 (4), 277-281.