- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
The General Manifestations, Diagnosis And Treatments Of Systemic Fungal Infections
A Fungal Infection Affecting The Nails
A Clinical Overview Of Fungal Infections
Fungal infections are very common but some of them are serious and fatal. Fungi are present in abundance in the soil as saprophytes and they generally invade immunologically compromised hosts. In the human body, they are present as commensals abundantly in the mucosal regions, skin and alimentary tract. The commensals keep the fungi under check. With the widespread use of antibacterial drugs and immunosuppressive therapy, fungal infections have assumed greater importance.
Fungi may be unicellular such as Cryptococcus or multicellular such as dermatophytes and they show varying degrees of differentiation. Hyphae are elongated tubular structures formed by the scell. Hyphae may be septate or noseptate. A tangled mass of hyphae is called myceliu,
A Fungal Infection Affecting The Armpit
Classification Of Fungal Infections
Pathogenic fungi may be classified into four groups morphologically.
- Yeasts: These are unicellular fungi, spherical or ellipsoidal in shape, which reproduce by simple budding, eg, Cryptococcus neoformans.
- Yeast-like fungi: These show spherical and hyphal forms eg, Candidi albicans.
- Moulds: These are filamentous fungi which are capable of spore formation, eg, dermatophytes.
- Dimorphic fungi: These may grow as yeasts in tissues and moulds in the soil. Most of the systemic mycosis are due to such organisms.
Another basis for classification takes into account, sexual spore formation. According to this classification, fungi may be divided into phycomycetes, ascomycetes, basidomycetes and fungi imperfecti. Most of the human fungal pathogens belong to the class of fungi imperfecti.
Diagnosis of fungal diseases is established by demonstration of the organism in tissue specimens, body fluids or discharges. Fungi can be easily cultured in prepared media such as Sabouraud’s glucose agar at pH 5.4.
Fungal lesions occurring in man can be broadly classified into superficial and deep mycoses. Superficial mycoses are more common and include the various types of tinea or ringworm affecting the skin, nails, hair and mucous membrane. These fungi have the capacity to digest keratin.
Primary systemic fungal infections are caused by organisms that are mostly soil saprophytes and the infection is accidental. Immunocompromised individuals run the risk of opportunistic infections by fungi that are usually avirulent such as mucor, penicillium and aspergillus, but which become invasive when body resistance goes down.
© 2014 Funom Theophilus Makama