Fungal Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
A serious condition, fungal sinusitis occurs when a person's sinus infection is not caused by a virus or bacteria, but by a fungus. The acute form of invasive fungal sinusitis is particularly dangerous, and people with weakened immune systems are most likely to have it. Symptoms develop quickly and include bloody nose, fever, cough, and facial pain. Prompt treatment is vital for this condition.
What Is Fungal Sinusitis?Sinusitis is the medical term for inflammation of the sinuses. There are several possible causes of sinusitis, including an infection with a virus (the most common cause), bacteria, or fungus. Fungal sinus infections are quite rare.
Types of Fungal Sinus InfectionsThere are several different types of fungal sinus infections. Some are mild; others can be quite serious, especially in those with a weakened immune system.
One serious form is known as invasive fungal sinusitis. The acute form of these infections can be particularly serious because damage can quickly occur in the sinus bones, which allows the infection to get into the eye and brain. There is also a chronic form, known as chronic invasive fungal sinusitis, although it tends to be less serious than the acute form.
Noninvasive fungal sinusitis includes allergic fungal sinusitis, which can cause chronic sinusitis (see Sinusitis Types) and paranasal sinus fungal balls.
Who's at Risk for an Invasive Infection?People most at risk for a more serious type of fungal sinus infection are those who have a weakened immune system. This can include people with:
- Cancer that affects cells in the blood
- Low blood counts from chemotherapy
- HIV or AIDS
- Uncontrolled diabetes.
This also includes people who have had an organ transplant or bone marrow transplant.