Aspergillosis

Disease

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Aspergillosis Fungal Plaques On Bird Lung
Aspergillosis Fungal Plaques On Bird Lung
U.S. Geological Survey

Commonly Infected Wildlife

Several species of birds and mammals can be infected.

Is This Animal Infected?

It is found worldwide; almost all domestic and many wild animals are susceptible.

Signs of aspergillosis vary widely, but respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing are the most common.

Some species of the fungus can produce toxins called aflatoxins.

Aflatoxicosis can be fatal in wildlife. Most mortalities coincide with migration and wintering, when waterfowl are consuming waste grain in fields.

Can I Get It?

Unlikely. While it is not possible for humans to contract aspergillosis from eating the meat of an infected bird or other animal, it may be possible for humans to contract this disease from inhaling spores released from infected carcasses. This should not pose a problem to a person who is healthy and has no underlying medical conditions.

How bad can it get?

May require medical attention and treatment.

Symptoms in humans

Respiratory signs such as wheezing, coughing, and asthma-like symptoms may occur.

Protect Myself and Others

Infected carcasses should be discarded and not consumed.

Safe for Pets?

No. Domestic animals may become infected if they inhale or ingest the fungal spores.

What Causes It?

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection caused by several Aspergillus species. The fungus can grow rapidly in damp litter of stubble fields, on moldy grain or meal, and on damp hay and straw.

Aspergillosis is primarily transmitted via inhalation of spores directly from the environment and possibly from the open carcass of an infected bird or other animal. Birds, animals, and people can ingest aflatoxins on moldy grain or meal; this toxin can produce severe illness and perhaps even liver cancer.