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Dermatologic Manifestations of Aspergillosis

Background

Cutaneous aspergillosis is usually a cutaneous manifestation of disseminated infection with the fungus Aspergillus. Primary cutaneous disease is rare and is most commonly caused by Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus flavus. Rare cutaneous infections have been reported with Aspergillus terreus and Aspergillus ustus.

Colonization of burn eschars by Aspergillus is common, and reports have described primary cutaneous infection in immunocompetent patients in association with agricultural trauma.
Usually, however, aspergillosis begins as a pulmonary infection subsequent to inhalation of fungal spores. In the immunocompromised host, hematogenous dissemination and invasion of other organ systems, including the skin, often follows the initial pulmonary infection.

Dermatologic manifestations of disseminated aspergillosis include single or multiple erythematous-to-violaceous plaques or papules, often characterized by a central necrotic ulcer or eschar. Skin lesions occur in 5-10% of patients with disseminated aspergillosis. In primary cutaneous aspergillosis, the most typical presentation is implantation of the fungus following trauma, including infections at the site of intravenous cannulas, or venipuncture wounds, especially those that have been covered with occlusive dressings. Note the image below. Aspergillus is a frequent contaminant found in cultures of dystrophic nails, but it can occasionally cause a true onychomycosis.

Primary cutaneous aspergillosis at a site of an in

Primary cutaneous aspergillosis at a site of an intravenous catheter in a boy with leukemia.

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