A case of a malaria sufferer who subsequently developed aspergillosis has been reported in the scientific media.
Malaria is caused by the invasion of the victims blood by tiny parasites called Plasmodium with several different species being involved. These parasites multiply within the red blood cells of the host causing a variety of symptoms including anaemia (i.e. lack of red blood cells), fever, chills, nausea, flu-like illness, and, in severe cases, coma, and death.
The disease is carried by one particular type of mosquito and is a major health problem in some parts of the world, mainly sub-saharan Africa. One to three million people a year die of malaria with hundreds of millions infected. It is known that one of the mechnisms that the malaria parasite uses to avoid being detected and removed by the hosts immune system is to
inhibit at least on part of the immune system - phagocytes.
Aspergillus cannot normally infect people with normal, efficient immune systems. Even if that immune system is damaged Aspergillosis (i.e. infection by Aspergillus) is not common and is very rare except in the most extreme cases of immunocompromisation e.g. after transplant or during treatment of some cancers - malaria does not cause extreme immunocompromisation.
In this case however a patient who is otherwise completely healthy but who has malaria has become infected and there are four other cases quoted, all of whom died. In this case the patient was successfully treated with an antifungal medication and completely recovered. This is the first recorded incidence of a successful intervention of this type of case.