A Review of Onychomycosis Due to Aspergillus Species

Article Authors: Felix Bongomin, C. R. Batac, Malcolm D. Richardson & David W. Denning


Aspergillus spp. are emerging causative agents of non-dermatophyte mould onychomycosis (NDMO). New Aspergillus spp. have recently been described to cause nail infections. The following criteria are required to diagnose onychomycosis due to Aspergillus spp.: (1) positive direct microscopy and (2) repeated culture or molecular detection of Aspergillus spp., provided no dermatophyte was isolated. A review of 42 epidemiological studies showed that onychomycosis due to Aspergillus spp. varies between < 1 and 35% of all cases of onychomycosis in the general population and higher among diabetic populations accounting for up to 71% and the elderly; it is very uncommon among children and adolescence. Aspergillus spp. constitutes 7.7–100% of the proportion of NDMO. The toenails are involved 25 times more frequently than fingernails. A. flavus, A. terreus and A. niger are the most common aetiologic species; other rare and emerging species described include A. tubingensis, A. sydowii, A. alliaceus, A. candidus, A. versicolor, A. unguis, A. persii, A. sclerotiorum, A. uvarum, A. melleus, A. tamarii and A. nomius. The clinical presentation of onychomycosis due to Aspergillus spp. is non-specific but commonly distal–lateral pattern of onychomycosis. A negative culture with a positive KOH may point to a NDM including Aspergillus spp., as the causative agent of onychomycosis. Treatment consists of systemic therapy with terbinafine or itraconazole.

Bibliographical metadata

Journal Mycopathologia
Volume 183
Pages 485-493
DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/s11046-017-0222-9
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