Species Distribution and Antifungal Susceptibilities of <em>Aspergillus</em> Section <em>Fumigati</em> Isolates in Clinical Samples from the United States
J Clin Microbiol. 2022 Apr 11:e0028022. doi: 10.1128/jcm.00280-22. Online ahead of print.
Aspergillus species are capable of causing both invasive disease and chronic infections in immunocompromised patients or those with preexisting lung conditions. Aspergillus fumigatus is the most commonly cultured species, and there is increasing concern regarding resistance to the azoles, which are the mainstays of antifungal therapy against aspergillosis. We evaluated the species distribution and susceptibility profiles of isolates within Aspergillus section Fumigati in the United States over a 52-month period. Species identification was performed by combined phenotypic characteristics and DNA sequence analysis, and antifungal susceptibility testing was performed by CLSI M38 broth microdilution for amphotericin B, the azoles, and the echinocandins. The entire CYP51A gene and its promoter were also sequenced in isolates that were phenotypically resistant to the azoles. During the study time frame, 2,138 isolates were included, representing 11 different species within Aspergillus section Fumigati, of which A. fumigatus was the most prevalent (96.91%). Overall, amphotericin B and the echinocandins demonstrated consistent in vitro activity with very few isolates demonstrating reduced susceptibility to these agents. Voriconazole, isavuconazole, and posaconazole also demonstrated good in vitro activity, and the overall percentages of isolates classified as resistant or non-wild type ranged from 3.33 to 6.58%. Mutations within the CYP51A gene leading to amino acid changes associated with azole resistance were found in 75.3% of isolates that were phenotypically resistant or non-wild type and included both those associated with chronic clinical exposure and environmental exposure to the azoles. Further studies are warranted to continue to monitor for azole-resistant A. fumigatus within the United States.