Drug-resistant aspergillus flavus is highly prevalent in the environment of Vietnam: A new challenge for the management of aspergillosis?
Duong TMN., Nguyen PT., Van Le T., Nguyen HLP., Nguyen BNT., Nguyen BPT., Nguyen TA., Chen SCA., Barrs VR., Halliday CL., Sorrell TC., Day JN., Beardsley J.
The burden of aspergillosis, especially Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis, is increasingly recognized, and the increasing presence of azole-resistant environmental Aspergillus fumigatus has been highlighted as a health risk. However, a sizable minority of aspergillosis is caused by Aspergillus flavus, which is assumed to be sensitive to azoles but is infrequently included in surveillance. We conducted environmental sampling at 150 locations in a rural province of southern Vietnam. A. flavus isolates were identified morphologically, their identity was confirmed by sequencing of the beta-tubulin gene, and then they were tested for susceptibility to azoles and amphotericin B according to EUCAST methodologies. We found that over 85% of A. flavus isolates were resistant to at least one azole, and half of them were resistant to itraconazole. This unexpectedly high prevalence of resistance demands further investigation to determine whether it is linked to agricultural azole use, as has been described for A. fumigatus. Clinical correlation is required, so that guidelines can be adjusted to take this information into account.