Common Diseases Caused by Fungi

Fungi are organisms which can cause many varieties of infections in humans and in most instances, the infections would affect the feeble and the immune-compromised. But, it can infect even the perfectly healthy individuals when the environmental or the body physiologies become ideal for their growth and function. Being opportunistic organisms, the likelihood of fungal infections become more when the normal flora or the normal bacterial organisms living on the body become depleted as well.

The infections caused by fungi can be classified into four main categories and these include,

-Superficial infections

-Cutaneous infections

-Sub cutaneous infections

-and Systemic infections.

The superficial infections would only limit themselves to the surface of the skin and the hair whereas cutaneous infections would infect the skin beyond its surface. When it comes to sub-cutaneous infections, the fungi would be located beneath the overlying skin and as the name suggest, the systemic infections would involve some of the body organs and therefore can affect the entire body as against localized infections in other types of fungal infections.

Let us now take a look at some of the common diseases falling into these categories.

Superficial infections : These infections can include the common tinea infections as well as dandruff causing fungi infections which at times can also be considered as cutaneous infections as well.

Cutaneous infections : Dermatomycoses are known to cause superficial and cutaneous infections and among these jock itch, ring worm infections as well as athletes foot can be seen commonly in clinical practice. At the same time, the widely cited tinea infections such as tinea capitis, tinea cruris, tinea corporis…etc would also fall into this category of fungal infections.

Sub cutaneous infections : Among the most common sub-cutaneous fungal infections, sporotrichosis and mycetoma can be named as relatively common although there are different variations of the same and would be relatively rare than the superficial fungal infections.

Systemic infections : As against other types of fungal infections, the systemic ones can become fatal if not treated and the form which is considered as the disseminating form would be the most dangerous in comparison to the respiratory form. Among these type of infections, histoplasmosis, blastomycosis and cryptococcosis can be considered as some of the most common types of systemic infections along with coccidioidomycosis.  

Lastly, there is another group of fungal infections that we need to concentrate and these are the fungal infections which take place when a person become immune compromised. Among these infections, candida, aspergillus and cryptococcus can be considered relatively common.