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Man eating termites leads to death of Aspergillus fumigatus fungus

Patient NTT (60 years old, Hanoi) was infected with the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, leading to death, after eating termites – a “specialty” dish of the locality.

According to relatives, patient T. returned to his hometown in Ninh Binh and went to Hoa Binh province to buy live termites to make roasted termites. When not eating all, this person can put leftovers and the amount of live termites in the refrigerator next to ready-to-eat foods (spring rolls, rolls…). 5 days later, the patient appeared to have abdominal pain, defecation, low blood pressure, was treated in the direction of septic shock at the provincial hospital but his condition did not improve.

Patient T. was in severe shock, had respiratory failure, had to maintain a very high dose of vasopressor, mechanical ventilation but a lot of lung constriction, the ventilator could not push air into the lungs for ventilation.

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Image of fungus Aspegillus fumigatus parasitic on termites

Directly treating the patient, Dr. Nguyen Ba Cuong – Center for Intensive Care, Bach Mai Hospital, said that the patient was transferred to Bach Mai Hospital on May 30 in a very severe state of respiratory failure. lungs can no longer guarantee ventilation function even with maximum ventilator support. The patient was admitted to ECMO and continued with active resuscitation measures: antibiotics, antifungals, dialysis, vasopressors…

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Chest X-ray image on May 30 of patient T.

On May 30, the patient underwent bronchoscopy with many bilateral lower lobe pseudomembranous plaques. With experience in treating many complicated cases, doctors immediately thought of fungi. On June 1, bronchoscopy, the doctor found that pseudomembranous had developed on the entire airway mucosa, creating clusters of warts and interlaced pseudomembranous membranes like spider webs, completely filling the bronchial tubes.

On June 2, endoscopic results showed that the pseudomembranous tissues adhered to the airway wall gradually peeled off. All airway specimens showed filamentous fungi staining, Aspergillus fumigatus culture results, and Aspergillus fumigatus pseudomembranous pathology images concentrated in clusters. On June 4, the patient’s condition did not improve and the patient died.

Aspergillus fumigatus is an opportunistic fungus that parasitizes a variety of animals, insects and the environment. When the body is immunocompromised (such as being seriously ill, etc.), the fungus has the opportunity to grow and cause disease with severe symptoms (especially respiratory) with a very high mortality rate.

Through this case, doctors recommend people not to eat foods made from insects and should not be preserved with other foods.

Ngoc Trang

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