Cutaneous Aspergillosis


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a) photo of a large, round, dark area on their leg. B) many think strands and small dots. One of the strands ends in a sphere with long chains of dots around the top part of the structure.
(a) Eschar on a patient with secondary cutaneous aspergillosis. (b) Micrograph showing a conidiophore of Aspergillus. (credit a: modification of work by Santiago M, Martinez JH, Palermo C, Figueroa C, Torres O, Trinidad R, Gonzalez E, Miranda Mde L, Garcia M, Villamarzo G; credit b: modification of work by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

OpenStax Microbiology

One cause of cutaneous mycoses is Aspergillus, a genus consisting of molds of many different species, some of which cause a condition called aspergillosis. Primary cutaneous aspergillosis, in which the infection begins in the skin, is rare but does occur. More common is secondary cutaneous aspergillosis, in which the infection begins in the respiratory system and disseminates systemically. Both primary and secondary cutaneous aspergillosis result in distinctive eschars that form at the site or sites of infection.

Primary cutaneous aspergillosis usually occurs at the site of an injury and is most often caused by Aspergillus fumigatus or Aspergillus flavus. It is usually reported in patients who have had an injury while working in an agricultural or outdoor environment. However, opportunistic infections can also occur in health-care settings, often at the site of intravenous catheters, venipuncture wounds, or in association with burns, surgical wounds, or occlusive dressing. After candidiasis, aspergillosis is the second most common hospital-acquired fungal infection and often occurs in immunocompromised patients, who are more vulnerable to opportunistic infections.

Cutaneous aspergillosis is diagnosed using patient history, culturing, histopathology using a skin biopsy. Treatment involves the use of antifungal medications such as voriconazole (preferred for invasive aspergillosis), itraconazole, and amphotericin B if itraconazole is not effective. For immunosuppressed individuals or burn patients, medication may be used and surgical or immunotherapy treatments may be needed.


Parker, N., Schneegurt, M., Thi Tu, A.-H., Forster, B. M., & Lister, P. (n.d.). Microbiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: