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Systemic Fungal Infection

Of the huge variety of fungi (around 250,000 different species), fewer than 200 are known to cause fungal infections in humans and animals.1 The majority are associated only with superficial or subcutaneous infections. However, a number of organisms are associated with opportunistic systemic fungal infections. These include Candida spp. and Aspergillus spp.


Candida and Aspergillus infections are the leading causes of systemic fungal infections worldwide.2 The role of Candida as a cause of nosocomial infections has grown over the last 20 years2 and it is now the fourth most common cause of bloodstream infections.3 This growth is considered to be due to an increase in the population at risk for systemic fungal diseases as a consequence of medical advances such as:

  • whole-organ or haematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • improved management of patients with burns or cancers and of low birth-weight infants
  • increased numbers of patients with HIV infection or AIDS in the developing world.2


1.Evans EGV. Fungi. Thrush; ringworm; subcutaneous and systemic mycoses. In Medical microbiology. A guide to microbial infections: pathogenesis, immunity, laboratory diagnosis and control., 1997; pp. 556–576. Edited by D Greenwood, RCB Slack & JF Peutherer. New York: Churchill Livingstone.
2.Warnock DW. Trends in the epidemiology of invasive fungal infections. Nippon Ishinkin Gakkai Zasshi 2007; 48:1–12.
3.Pfaller MA & Diekema DJ. Epidemiology of invasive candidiasis: a persistent public health problem. Clin Microbiol Rev 2007; 20:133–163.



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