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Invasive Mold Infections in Children: Navigating Troubled Waters with a Broken Compass.

Incidence of invasive mold infections in children, while rare, is increasing as the population of high-risk patients expands, including premature infants, pediatric patients undergoing treatment for hematological malignancies, or recipients of allogeneic hematologic stem cell transplants. The infectious agents, including Aspergillus spp., Mucorales, and other molds, are especially difficult to treat and have serious morbidity and high mortality. Clinicians must maintain a high index of suspicion for invasive mold infections in at-risk patients. Diagnosis of invasive mold infections is complicated by difficulties isolating pathogens on culture, but progress is being made in immunological and molecular diagnostic technologies. Treatment in children is challenging; no randomized controlled trials exist. There is a growing body of data on treatment, specifically on safer antifungal agents, including indications for treatment, spectrum of coverage, pharmacokinetics for different ages, and pharmacodynamic targets associated with therapeutic success. However, pediatricians must often extrapolate from adult data. In this review, we aim to harmonize the existing body of literature on invasive mold infections in children, covering epidemiology, clinical presentations, diagnostic methods, and principles of management.

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