What are some diseases caused by fungi?

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Fungi exist as molds and yeasts. A fungal infection is called a mycosis, these can manifest as a local infection or a systemic infection.

 A very common fungal infection is caused by a "yeast like fungus" called Candida Albicans. Candida is seen frequently in infants who are undergoing antibiotic therapy or who have just finished a course of antibiotic treatment. The fungus localizes in the oral cavity on the tongue. The tongue becomes white/gray, is inflammed and painful. This is commonly referred to as "thrush".

Another common fungal infection is "tinea capitis", this is ringworm of the scalp. It is a localized, self limiting fungus. Tinea pedis is athlete's foot or ringworm of the feet.

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Fungal diseases are called mycoses. The mycoses that affect humans are divided into 4 categories, relating to penetration of the body.

  1. Superficial mycoses are caused by fungi that only affect the surface of the skin or hair.
  2. Cutaneous mycoses (dermatomycoses) are caused by fungi that affect only the superficial layers of the skin, nails, or hair. Some example of are ringworm and athletes foot.
  3. Subcutaneous mycoses are caused by fungi that penetrate below the skin and involve subcutaneous, connective, and bone tissues. An example is sporotrichosis.
  4. Systemic mycoses (deep mycoses) are very dangerous and attack internal organs. It can often be deadly. An example is Coccidioidomycosis, commonly known as Valley Fever.

 

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There are many diseases caused by fungi. Many times fungi are inhaled and can impact the lungs or get into the blood stream. Below is a list of some of them.

  • Coccidioidomycosis-is caused by Coccidioides immitis, this spore is typically found in desert areas of the US southwest. This is also known as California disease and Desert rheumatism. The illness present with mild flu-like symptoms and rashes.
  • Histoplasmosis-is caused by the fungus Histoplasma capsulatum, it is found in soil fertilized by bat droppings. It is most prevalent in the Ohio River and Mississippi Valley. This illness is also known as Cave disease and Darling's disease. The illness presents with flu-like symptoms and can resemble tuberculosis.
  • Blastomycosis-is caused by the fungus Blastomycoses dermatitidis, It grows in soil as a mold producing conidia. This illness is also known as North American blastomycosis, Blastomycetic dermatitis, and Gilchrist's disease. It presents with flu-like symptoms resembling bacterial pneumonia.

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Diseases caused by fungi tend to be in areas that are easily reached by things in the environment; they are found on the skin, in the lungs, in the ears. Fungal diseases that affect internal organs are quite serious, and can be fatal.

Fungal diseases are called mycoses. The one most commonly found throughout the world is sporotrichosis; it is found in the soil, and infects farmers and gardeners. Other fungi can cause ringworm, athlete's foot, valley fever, and histoplasmosis. I've attached a link that details the types of fungi that cause disease, and the diseases and treatments available.

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