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Fungal infections 'threat' to human health, warn scientists

More than one million people die from fungal infections around the world each year, but, there are no vaccines yet.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Scientists said fungal infections, which kill more people than malaria or breast cancer, are a threat to human health.

According to Prof Neil Gow of the University of Aberdeen, more than one million people die from fungal infections around the world each year, but, there are no vaccines yet, adding that there's a 'pressing need' for new treatments, the BBC reported.

The warning comes in wake of doctors in England reporting about a new strain of fungi causing outbreaks in hospitals.

Health officials have meted out warnings regarding Candida auris - which has caused an outbreak affecting 40 patients in one hospital in south-east England.

The infection was first detected in 2009 in Japan, but has since been discovered across Asia and parts of south America, added the report.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections in some patients. This yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat.

It is said that there are more than five million types of fungi, but only three major groups are responsible for majority of deaths in humans. They are:

Aspergillus - which affects the lungs.

Cryptococcus - which mainly attacks the brain.

Candida - which infects mucosal membranes including in the mouth and genitals.

Fungal infections are more deadly in people with weakened immune systems - such as patients with HIV.

With more than a million people dying from fungal infections every year, and yet not considered a priority, experts warned about the need to understand these different types of infection and how to deal with them.

 

From Zee News

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