Know the Basics About Fungal Infection
1. What are the main human diseases caused by fungi?
The main human diseases caused by fungi in immunocompetent patients are coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, blastomycosis, paracoccidioidomycosis, or South American blastomycosis, sporotrichosis and onychomycosis (nail mycosis).
In immuno-deficient patients, besides the diseases mentioned above, other fungal diseases like systemic candidiasis, aspergillosis, cryptococcosis and other opportunistic diseases can occur.
2. Moniliasis is one of the most common opportunistic diseases in AIDS. What is the etiological agent of moniliasis and what is the other name of the disease? Why is monilia also common in healthy newborns?
The etiological agent of moniliasis is Candida albicans, a fungus. Moniliasis is also known as mucocutaneous candidiasis. In AIDS moniliasis can complicate and turn into systemic candidiasis, affecting many organs.
Newborns do not yet have their immune system working with complete efficiency and thus they are more susceptible to candidiasis that generally appears in mouth and in the genital mucosae and disappears naturally.
3. What are some fungal diseases transmitted by animal feces?
Bat and pigeon feces can carry Histoplasma capsulatum, the fungus agent of histoplasmosis. The infection is transmitted through inhalation of contaminated dust in places visited by these animals (caves, tunnels, squares, roofs, etc.). Cryptococcosis is another fungal disease transmitted by pigeon excrement.
4. What are some antibiotics used against fungi?
The topical or systemic azoles (like itraconazole, fluconazole and others), amphotericin B, the echinocandins (caspofungin, micafungin), terbinafine and griseofulvin are examples of antifungal drugs.
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