NewsGlobal alarm as drug-resistant fungal infections rise, deaths near 2 million

Global alarm as drug-resistant fungal infections rise, deaths near 2 million

Around the world, there is an observed increase in the number of infections caused by fungi resistant to drugs.
Around the world, there is an observed increase in the number of infections caused by fungi resistant to drugs.
Images source: © Getty Images | Omar Marques
12:59 PM EDT, March 20, 2024

Around the world, an increasing number of infections are caused by drug-resistant fungi. According to the latest research, published in the prestigious scientific journal "Pathogens and Immunity", there are over 150 million serious infections each year, with nearly two million resulting in death.

Fungal infections, also known as skin fungi, can occur through contact with microorganisms found in the soil or on the surfaces of various objects, such as public showers. Another common source of infection is through contact with infected individuals or pets that carry the fungi. Symptoms typically include a rash, itching, burning, and skin irritation.

Recent epidemiological data published in the journal "Microbial Cell" highlight that there are more than 150 million serious fungal infections globally each year, with almost 1.7 million leading to death.

Scientists sound the alarm over increasing drug-resistant infections

Professors of dermatology, Thomas McCormick and Mahmoud Ghannoum, from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, highlight in their article in "Pathogens and Immunity" the growing global number of fungal infections resistant to treatment. McCormick stresses that "this is not a problem limited to individual patients." The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified it as a significant threat that, if ignored, could have widespread impacts on healthcare systems.

The rise of multi-drug resistant fungi like Candida auris and Trichophyton indotineae is particularly alarming. Patients undergoing cancer surgeries and transplants, or those receiving treatments that weaken the immune system, are at higher risk of such infections.

Drug-resistant fungus discovered in India

In recent research published in "Emerging Infectious Diseases," Ghannoum and his team, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported a case of the fungus Trichophyton indotineae, which has developed drug resistance and can be transmitted sexually. This species, originally found in India, has since been identified in China, Vietnam, various European countries, Canada, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran.

The study's authors argue that immediate measures are necessary to protect the population from multi-drug resistant fungi. These measures should start with education and increased awareness on the subject. Ghannoum emphasizes the importance of "prioritizing the use of diagnostic tests in cases of unidentified fungal infections." Early detection is crucial for significantly improving patient outcomes.

Source: PAP

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