Question: I have had a Kidney transplant. In the building that we rent we had a test done for mould and found high levels of Penicillium and Aspergillus. With a weakened immune system, are these moulds harmful to me?
Answer: People with weakened immune system (i.e., immuno-compromised or immuno-suppressed individuals) are highly likely to be infected by opportunistic pathogens (disease causing organisms). Aspergillus fumigatus and Aspergillus niger, for example, cause a disease called invasive aspergillosis in the lungs of immuno-compromised individuals. This happens when immuno-compromised individuals inhale airborne spores which then start growing in the lungs. Penicillium marneffei causes penicilliosis in humans. This may involve skin papules that are acne-like symptoms and also diarrhoea and fever in HIV AIDS patients.
Healthy individuals are usually not susceptible to opportunistic infections from the common saprophytic fungi.