An overview of fungal infections

Infectious Diseases Division, Ottawa Hospital, Ontario, Canada.
Drugs (Impact Factor: 4.13). 02/2001; 61 Suppl 1(Suppl. 1):1-12. DOI: 10.2165/00003495-200161001-00001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The incidence of fungal infections is increasing at an alarming rate, presenting an enormous challenge to healthcare professionals. This increase is directly related to the growing population of immunocompromised individuals, resulting from changes in medical practice such as the use of intensive chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drugs. HIV and other diseases which cause immunosuppression have also contributed to this problem. Superficial and subcutaneous fungal infections affect the skin, keratinous tissues and mucous membranes. Included in this class are some of the most frequently occurring skin diseases, affecting millions of people worldwide. Although rarely life threatening, they can have debilitating effects on a person's quality of life and may in some circumstances spread to other individuals or become invasive. Most superficial and subcutaneous fungal infections are easily diagnosed and readily amenable to treatment. Systemic fungal infections may be caused by either an opportunistic organism that infects an at-risk host, or may be associated with a more invasive organism that is endemic to a specific geographical area. Systemic infections can be life threatening and are associated with high morbidity and mortality. Because diagnosis is difficult and the causative agent is often confirmed only at autopsy, the exact incidence of systemic infections is difficult to determine. The most frequently encountered pathogens are Candida albicans and Aspergillus spp. but other fungi such as non-albicans Candida spp. are increasingly important.

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    • "Candida albicans, the major human fungal pathogen, causes a range of disorders from mild infections to lifethreatening diseases [1] [2]. Nowadays, with the widespread use of immunosuppressive therapy, infections by C. albicans have become more common and more studies about this pathogen are needed [3]. "
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    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 08/2007; 359(1):163-7. DOI:10.1016/j.bbrc.2007.05.081 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    • "The incidence of these infections is increasing as a result of a growing population of immunocompromised individuals, due to the use of intensive chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drugs. Systemic candidiasis can be life-threatening and is associated with high morbidity and mortality, as diagnosis is difficult and current antifungal therapies often fail (Calderone, 2001; Garber, 2001). "
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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of opportunistic fungal infections has increased dramatically among the aged population in recent years. This work investigated the effect of ageing on murine defences against Candida albicans. Aged C57BL/6 mice that were experimentally infected intravenously had a significantly impaired survival and a higher tissue fungal burden compared with young mice. In vitro production of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha by macrophages from aged mice in response to yeast cells and hyphae of C. albicans was significantly lower than production by macrophages from young mice. In vitro production of cytokines, such as TNF-alpha and gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), by antigen-stimulated splenocytes from mice intravenously infected with C. albicans cells was also diminished in old mice. This decrease in production of T helper 1 cytokines in old mice correlated with a diminished frequency of IFN-gamma-producing CD4+ T lymphocytes, although the ability to develop an acquired resistance upon vaccination (primary sublethal infection) of mice with the low-virulence PCA2 strain was not affected in aged mice. The diversity of antigens recognized by C. albicans-specific antibodies in sera from infected aged mice was clearly diminished when compared with that from infected young mice. Taken together, these data show that aged mice develop an altered innate and adaptive immune response to C. albicans and are more susceptible to systemic primary candidiasis.
    Journal of Medical Microbiology 01/2007; 55(Pt 12):1649-56. DOI:10.1099/jmm.0.46740-0 · 2.27 Impact Factor
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    • "As a result of a growing population of immunocompromised individuals, caused by the use of intensive chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drugs, the incidence of these infections is increasing. Systemic candidiasis can be life-threatening and is associated with high morbidity and mortality, since diagnosis is di⁄cult and current anti-fungal therapies often fail [1] [2]. "
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