Aspergillus terreus complex: an emergent opportunistic agent of Onychomycosis


Correspondence: M. S. Fernández, Av. Las Heras 727, C.P.3500 Resistencia, Argentina.

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The incidence of onychomycosis due to non-dermatophyte moulds (NDM) is increasing. Aspergillus terreus is relatively undocumented as an agent of this fungal infection. The aim of this work is to show the prevalence of onychomycosis caused by A. terreus and to describe its clinical features. Nail samples were collected for microscopic examination and culturing in selective media. All cases of onychomycosis due to NDM were confirmed by a second sample. Aspergillus terreus isolates were identified through their morphological characteristics and using molecular methods. A total of 2485 samples were obtained. Positive cultures were obtained in 1639 samples. From 124 NDM confirmed cultures, 23 were identified as A. terreus (18.5%). Superficial white onychomycosis was the most frequent clinical pattern. A high percentage was found in fingernails. The prevalence of A. terreus in this study considerably exceeded the percentages reported by other authors. Onychomycosis due to A. terreus presents similar clinical patterns to those caused by dermatophytes, but is difficult to eradicate and is associated with less predictable treatment outcomes. Better knowledge of the aetiology of A. terreus may be important for accomplishing more accurate and effective treatment.