Part of the Aspergillus genus comprising about 200 fungi worldwide, Aspergillus ochraceus is a species of mold that is frequently found in grains, soil, and salted food products.
However, because these mold spores are easily airborne, look for them everywhere – both indoors and outdoors (and particularly in damp materials): soil, air, water-storage tanks in hospitals, fireproofing materials, bedding, pillows, ventilation and other types of HVAC systems and computer fans.
Aspergillus and your health
A. ochraceus is considered an allergen and an irritant as well as causing hypersensitivity pneumonitis and dermatitis. A. ochraceus is also known to produce several mycotoxins, some of which are reported to be kidney and liver toxins. For example, A. ochraceus can produce ochratoxin A, one of the most common mycotoxins that contaminate food.
The types of diseases caused by Aspergillus vary in severity, from an allergy-type illness to life-threatening generalized infections. Aspergillosis is a group of diseases caused by Aspergillus. Aspergillosis symptoms include fever, coughing, chest pain and breathlessness.
Because these symptoms are common to many other illnesses, it is extremely difficult to diagnose aspergillosis. However, the severity of aspergillosis is determined by various factors including the state of a person’s immune system.
Because Aspergillus is a very common indoor mold, particularly in the autumn and winter, you shouldn’t wait to get your home tested.