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Types of Fungal Diseases | Professor Neil A.R. Gow

August 15, 2019


Fungal diseases are in certain types of
groups. First of all, the World Health Organization lists fungal infections as
the number one type of infection on the planet. The most common sort of infection altogether are skin infections. We call these dermatophyte diseases. Dandruff
is a fungal infection in fact and almost all humans on the planet Earth have
dandruff to some extent and about a quarter of all people have got skin
infections. So that’s one group. There’s a second group of organisms which colonize and infect mucosal surfaces and that includes organisms like Candida and
these are, again, extremely common. For example, it’s estimated that round about
a hundred million women get four episodes of thrush every year. A really
miserable sentence. And those which inhabit and grow on the mucosal surfaces
can also, under certain circumstances, invade through the mucosa and enter the
body and cause, what we call, deep-seated infections. A lot of the book is devoted
to organisms which do those things with a special emphasis on those which really
cause potentially lethal infections. Now in that situation,
the trouble is that fungal infections can be quite difficult to diagnose, which
is one reason why the book has a whole section devoted to diagnosis. Late
diagnosis, poor prognosis. And mortality rates for fungal infections are really
staggeringly high. Sometimes as much as 50, 60, 70 or 80 percent of people succumb to infection, even when the doctor knows what that organism is and uses all
available forms of therapy to try and treat them. So some of the worst ravages
of fungal infection are extremely difficult to deal with.

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