ASPERGILLUS NIGER (below)
The genus Aspergillus includes over 185 species. Around 20 species have so far been reported as causative agents of opportunistic infections in man. Among these, Aspergillus fumigatus is the most commonly isolated species, followed by Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger. Aspergillus clavatus, Aspergillus glaucus group, Aspergillus nidulans, Aspergillus oryzae, Aspergillus terreus, Aspergillus ustus, and Aspergillus versicolor are among the other species less commonly isolated as opportunistic pathogens. Aspergillus is a group of molds which is found world-wide, especially in the autumn and winter in the Northern hemisphere. The fungus also causes allergic diseases in asthmatics and patients suffering from cystic fibrosis.
Possible Biological Warfare Agent To furthermore understand the significance of the component aflatoxin as a known carcinogen by the government, review the following expert on Iraq's declaration of biological weapons in 1998 according to this SIPRI fact sheet,
Aspergillosis is a large spectrum of diseases caused by members of the genus Aspergillus. The three principal entities are: allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, pulmonary aspergilloma and invasive aspergillosis. According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, one in seven Americans suffers from acute fungal sinusitis. These numbers are sounding alarming. Colonization of the respiratory tract is also common.Lowered host resistance due to such factors as underlying debilitating disease, neutropenia chemotherapy, disruption of normal flora, and an inflammatory response due to the use of antimicrobial agents and steroids can predispose the patient to colonization, invasive disease, or both. Aspergillus spp. are frequently secondary opportunistic pathogens in patients with bronchiectasis, carcinoma, other mycoses, sarcoid, and tuberculosis.
Allergic Broncho-pulmonary (Aspergillosis)
ABOVE & BELOW SHOWS REMOVAL OF FUNGAL DEBRIS IN LUNGS
Aspergilloma This is a very different disease also caused by the Aspergillus mold. The fungus grows within a cavity of the lung, which was previously damaged during an illness such as tuberculosis or Sarcoidosis. Any lung disease which causes cavities can leave a person open to developing an aspergilloma. The spores penetrate the cavity and germinate, forming a fungal ball within the cavity. The fungus secretes toxic and allergic products which may make the person feel ill.
Many people have died from severe invasive Aspergillosis. Their chances of living are improved the earlier the diagnosis is made but unfortunately there is no good diagnostic test. Often treatment has to be started when the condition is only suspected. This condition is usually clinically diagnosed in a person with low defenses such as bone marrow transplant, low white cells after cancer treatment, AIDS or major burns. There is also a rare inherited condition that gives people low immunity (chronic granulomatous disease) which puts affected people at moderate risk. People with invasive Aspergillosis usually have a fever and symptoms from the lungs (cough, chest pain or discomfort or breathlessness) which do not respond to standard antibiotics. X-rays and scans are usually abnormal and help to localize the disease. Bronchoscopy (inspection of the inside of the lung with a small tube inserted via the nose) is often used to help to confirm the diagnosis.
Aflatoxicosis is poisoning that results from ingestion of aflatoxins in contaminated food or feed. The aflatoxins are a group of structurally related toxic compounds produced by certain strains of the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Under favorable conditions of temperature and humidity, these fungi grow on certain foods and feeds, resulting in the production of aflatoxins. The most pronounced contamination has been encountered in tree nuts, peanuts, and other oilseeds, including corn and cottonseed. The major aflatoxins of concern are designated B1, B2, G1, and G2. These toxins are usually found together in various foods and feeds in various proportions; however, aflatoxin B1 is usually predominant and is the most toxic. When a commodity is analyzed by thin-layer chromatography, the aflatoxins separate into the individual components in the order given above; however, the first two fluoresce blue when viewed under ultraviolet light and the second two fluoresce green. Aflatoxin M a major metabolic product of aflatoxin B1 in animals and is usually excreted in the milk and urine of dairy cattle and other mammalian species that have consumed aflatoxin-contaminated food or feed.Aflatoxins produce acute necrosis, cirrhosis, and carcinoma of the liver in a number of animal species; no animal species is resistant to the acute toxic effects of aflatoxins; hence it is logical to assume that humans may be similarly affected. A wide variation in LD50 values has been obtained in animal species tested with single doses of aflatoxins. For most species, the LD50 value ranges from 0.5 to 10 mg/kg body weight. Animal species respond differently in their susceptibility to the chronic and acute toxicity of aflatoxins. The toxicity can be influenced by environmental factors, exposure level, and duration of exposure, age, health, and nutritional status of diet. Aflatoxin B1 is a very potent carcinogen in many species, including nonhuman primates, birds, fish, and rodents. In each species, the liver is the primary target organ of acute injury. Metabolism plays a major role in determining the toxicity of aflatoxin B1; studies show that this aflatoxin requires metabolic activation to exert its carcinogenic effect, and these effects can be modified by induction or inhibition of the mixed function oxidase system. Aflatoxicosis in humans has rarely been reported; however, such cases are not always recognized. Aflatoxicosis may be suspected when a disease outbreak exhibits the following characteristics:?The cause is not readily identifiable ?The condition is not transmissible syndromes may be associated with certain batches of food ?Treatment with antibiotics or other drugs has little effect