A review of onychomycosis due to Aspergillus species

Felix Bongomin, Christina Batac, Malcolm Richardson, David Denning

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Aspergillus spp. are emerging causative agents of non-dermatophyte mould onychomycosis (NDMO). New Aspergillus spp. have recently been described to cause nail infections. The following criteria are required to diagnose onychomycosis due to Aspergillus spp.: 1) positive direct microscopy, and 2) repeated culture or molecular detection of Aspergillus spp., provided no dermatophyte was isolated. A review of 42 epidemiological studies showed that onychomycosis due to Aspergillus spp. varies between <1% and 35% of all cases of onychomycosis in the general population and higher among diabetic populations accounting for up to 71% and the elderly; it is very uncommon among children and adolescence. Aspergillus spp. constitutes 7.7-100% of the proportion of NDMO. The toenails are involved 25 times more frequently than fingernails. A. flavus, A. terreus, and A. niger are the most common etiologic species; other rare and emerging species described include A. tubingensis, A. sydowii, A. alliaceus, A. candidus, A. versicolor, A. unguis, A. persii, A. sclerotiorum, A. uvarum, A. melleus, A. tamari, and A. nomius. The clinical presentation of onychomycosis due to Aspergillus spp. is non-specific but commonly distal-lateral pattern of onychomycosis. A negative culture with a positive KOH may point to a NDM including Aspergillus spp., as the causative agent of onychomycosis. Treatment consists of systemic therapy with terbinafine or itraconazole.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date16 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Aspergillus
  • onychomycosis
  • clinical features
  • epidemiology
  • mycology


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