By Rachael Lamptey
Has one wondered why some patients who present same signs and symptoms as TB tests negative for TB? So, what is the underlying cause? This has been a puzzling question for health personnels over the years.
Friday, 1st February 2019, in commemoration of World Aspergilloses Day, Fungal Infection Care Ghana (FIC Ghana) in collaboration with Medical Journalists Association Ghana ( MJA Ghana) organized an awareness seminar in Korle bu Teaching Hospital in the Medical conference room. This seminar was themed ‘Considering Chronic Pulmonary Aspergilloses (CPA) for improved Tuberculosis (TB) management’ Guest speakers were Prof. David Denning, Professor of infectious disease in global health- Manchester University, UK and Doctor Rita Oladele, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist/Mycologist, Nigeria.
According to Dr. Oladele, CPA is estimated to affect 3 million persons worldwide and has case fatality rates of 20-30% short term and 50% over 5years period. Aspergillus is a type of fungus that lives with us in our environment especially in moist areas. This fungus forms molds on walls, foods and they multiply greatly in empy or uncompleted houses.
One can be affected by breathing it into the body. After which the lungs becomes the targeted organ, growing in its cavities and to the extent of forming moulds in the lungs. Some signs and symptoms are coughing out blood, weight loss, tiredness, shortness of breath and chest pains which are the also same signs of TB she explained to the attendants. However some people showed no signs of CPA but had the fungal moulds in their lungs during the research in Nigeria from June 2014 to May 2015 according to Dr. Oladele.
During the research it was revealed that some patients with suspested chronic TB tested negative for TB but were positive to the fungal infection. Some cured TB patients developed CPA after some years. Moreover, it was astonishing to know that healthy persons were at more risk of getting TB than people living with AIDS she explained.
Prof. Denning took the attendants through the second section in a video as he explained how the distinguish CPA from TB and showed the new test kits for testing CPA.
In addition Prof. G. T. Odamtten, Professor in the Department of Botany, University of Ghana raised an awareness that most of Africa’s microbial challenges are from the fungal family. From the food we eat to the air we breath. He encouraged health science personnels and researchers to invest into this area.
Always with the life of your patient in mind, let all health personnels unite to research beyond what is already known so as to give the best care to patients said Dr. Oladele as she concluded.