Growing Concerns About Invasive Fungal Infections

The incidence of invasive fungal infections (IFIs) has risen sharply in the past 2 decades. A recent study has found that invasive aspergillosis results in high costs to patients and their healthcare providers. The average hospitalization for aspergillosis is 17.5 days and costs $82,425 per case. For invasive candidiasis, the cost of therapy ranges between $34,000 and $44,500 per patient. Patient populations considered at highest risk include: Individuals with profound, prolonged neutropenia. Individuals with acute leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes. Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients. Individuals with graft-versus-host disease. Autologous graft-versus-host disease recipients with mucositis. Oncology nurses and other healthcare providers can play a major role in preventing and/or minimizing IFIs in their immunosuppressed patients by understanding how to identify high-risk patients. Recognizing the sources of IFIs and the vectors by which they are transmitted can also be of benefit. Additionally, nurses should maintain a high level of suspicion of any symptoms experienced by patients that could be caused by IFIs. Despite the rising incidence of aspergillosis, the report lists effective methods for preventing and treating IFIs. For candidiasis, fluconazole has long been the gold standard in prevention and treatment, although amphotericin and micafungin are also used. For aspergillosis,...