A prospective survey of Aspergillus spp. in respiratory tract samples: prevalence, clinical impact and antifungal susceptibility

K L Mortensen, H K Johansen, Kurt Fuursted, J D Knudsen, B Gahrn-Hansen, R H Jensen, S J Howard, M C Arendrup

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A three-month laboratory-based prospective survey was conducted at four major university hospitals covering one-third of the Danish population in order to determine the prevalence, significance, and susceptibility pattern of aspergilli in airway samples. Samples received in January-March 2007 for routine microbiologic investigation were examined for Aspergillus following routine procedures and with extended incubation (5 days). Identification was done by morphologic criteria and susceptibility testing using EUCAST method for azoles and amphotericin B E-test. Invasive aspergillosis (IA) was evaluated using modified EORTC/MSG criteria. A total of 11,368 airway samples were received. Growth of Aspergillus spp. was found in 129 and 151 patients using routine and extended incubation, respectively. Three patients had proven IA (2%), 11 probable (7%), four had allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) (3%), but the majority was colonised (88%). Underlying conditions were cystic fibrosis in 82 patients (55%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in 19 (13%) and haematological disorder in 11 (7%). Twenty-six patients (18%) were at intensive care unit and 69 (47%) received steroid treatment. Azole MICs were elevated for five isolates as follows (itraconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole MICs [mg/L]): two A. fumigatus isolates (>4; >4; 2 and >4; 0.125; 1), one A. lentulus isolate (2; 2; 0.5) and two A. terreus isolates (2; 2; 2 and 2; 0.125; 1). For four isolates the amphotericin B MIC was >1 μg/ml (3/112 A. fumigatus, 1/2 A. terreus). In conclusion, Aspergillus appears to be an important pathogen in Denmark. Elevated itraconazole MICs were detected in 4% of the isolates including a multi-azole resistant isolate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1355-63
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 1. Nov 2011

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