The 23rd-27th of September is Fungal Disease Awareness Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of fungal diseases around the world. Patients with fungal diseases can often experience delays in diagnosis and treatment due to the limited knowledge of these illnesses among both clinicians and the general public. Many aspergillosis patients will be familiar with this problem!
The aim of Fungal Disease Awareness Week is to encourage patients and healthcare providers around the world to ‘Think Fungus’. when the symptoms of infection do not get better with treatment.
Share the video below with family and friends to encourage them to #ThinkFungus
September is Pain Awareness Month in the USA, a month dedicated to raising awareness of the issues surrounding pain and pain management. Chronic pain can be a major problem for aspergillosis patients (though speak to your doctor if the pain is extreme or worsening), and can interfere with you living a full and active life. Often it is difficult to explain hidden symptoms such as pain to doctors, friends and family, which can be frustrating and a barrier to accessing the care you need. The American Chronic Pain Association have therefore put together several resources for both patients and their healthcare professionals, in order to ensure that anyone living with chronic pain can access support for managing and living with pain.
“Aspergillus and me” is a song written by Alessandro Pasqualotto, a medical mycologist from Brazil, and two transplant patients, Jimi Joe (kidney), and King Jim (liver).
The initiative started when King was hospitalized due to a chronic cough. King is known for being asthmatic and he has some mild bronchiectasis, in addition to being a liver transplant recipient. A bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa was recovered in culture, in addition to Aspergillus fumigatus (galactomannan testing was not performed). At that time, Alessandro Pasqualotto visited King in the hospital primarily as a fan, not as a physician. After collecting several autographs in vinyl albums from the 80’s (King was part of the famous rock band Garotos da Rua), Pasqualotto and King started a discussion on the relevance of A. fumigatus in his BAL exam. Despite being treated with voriconazole by order of the medical team in charge, Pasqualotto thought the musician was only colonized by the fungus. The dilemma surrounding the relevance of Aspergillus in this context motivated both Pasqualotto and King to write a song about that.
After being discharged from the hospital, King collected a group of experienced musicians to record Pasqualotto’s song. This included Jimi Joe, a kidney transplant recipient who together with King formed the band “Los Tresplantados”, a group of three transplant musicians that approaches the importance of organ donation, as well as opportunistic infections. Los Tresplantados, however, have never written a song about fungal infections, so this was a great opportunity to increase people’s awareness of such important diseases.
So this is what “Aspergillus and me” are all about. Alternatively, musicians also refer to this song as “When Black Sabbath meets Neil Young”. We hope you enjoy the song!