5 Most Common Fungal Infections

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The five most common fungal infections include those caused by candida species, aspergillus species and the dermatophytes or tinea species.

Some of the diseases that result from infection by fungi include:

  • Skin rashes
  • Lung infections
  • Meningitis
  • Bloodstream infections.
  • Allergies and asthma.

The five most common fungal infections across the world are those caused by Aspergillus species, candidiasis, ringworms, infection of the eye and nails.

1. Aspergillosis

This is an opportunistic lung infection that affects individuals who have a weakened immune system or existing lung disease. It is caused by the aspergillus mold that lives both indoor and outdoor in the human environment, thus people beath in and consume its spores without getting sick.

When one goes to the hospital because of suspected aspergillus infection, some of the tests done include chest x-ray, blood examination, and fungal cultures, tissue biopsy and staining to ascertain the presence or absence of the fungi.

2. Candidiasis

Candidiasis is an infection of the body caused by a yeast called Candida species which is a normal flora until the primary immune barriers are impaired or the immune system as a whole drop.

Therefore, it affects the areas in such as the mouth, the vagina, the surface of the skin and the nails. It is from these that the various colonizations get their names, for instance, the candida species that affect the mouth results in oral candidiasis, those that affect the vaginal canal result in vaginal candidiasis.

Microscopic examination of swab samples and studying patient history for risk factors that could have contributed to the suspected infection is helpful in diagnosing candidiasis

3. Ringworm

Sometimes confused with a parasitic infection, is one of the common fungal infections caused by a type of mold that has an affinity for the dead tissues of the skin.

Also called dermatophytosis or tinea as it is caused by the Tinea and the Trichophyton species.

Diagnosis is by examination of swabs obtained from the infected areas in the body. Under the microscope, one looks for the hyphae and other features of the causing fungi.

4. Fungal Infections of the Eye

Fungal infection of the eye is very rare but could be fatal when they occur. These infections are categorized according to the area of the eye that they affect. For instance, keratitis which affects the cornea and endophthalmitis that affects the vitreous or aqueous humor.

The diagnosis procedure for fungal infections of the eye includes:

  1. Microscopic examination for fungal structures in ocular samples which permits rapid presumptive diagnosis.
  2. Serological and molecular methods.

5. Fungal Infections of the nails

These are infections that colonize either under or inside the nail due to the favorable environmental condition for their growth.

They begin as a yellow spot at the tip of the nail bed, which could be itchy or painful. Examples of known infections of this kind are jock’s itch, athletes foot, and ringworms.

Toenail fungal infections are also known as dermatophytic onychomychosis or tinea unguium. Laboratory diagnosis includes microscopic examination of fungal features and culture. Fungal nail treatment includes the use of antifungal medication such as Terbinafine and itraconazole.

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