OCT 02, 2016 1:14 PM PDT

Deadly Fungal Infections Kill Over a Million per Year

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

We are surrounded by fungus. They live in different climates, indoors and outdoors on a huge variety of surfaces including skin. While there are an estimated 1.5 million species of fungus on the planet, it seems only around 300 of them can make people very sick. People can die from the illnesses, with around 1.5 million people dying from fungal infections every year worldwide - that's more than some common diseases like breast cancer.

The yeast Candida is normally a harmless resident of human skin, but overgrowth can cause candiasis. Since 2009, hospitals in several countries have reported that an infection from yeast called Candida auris resulted in severe illness in patients. It is a difficult to treat infection. Other types of Candida infections are becoming resistant to antifungal treatments.

Another fungus, Aspergillus, lives outdoors and is normally breathed in without detrimental effect. However, people with compromised immunity re at risk for developing aspergilliosis, a disease caused by the fungus. There are several types that affect the lungs; they range from mild to serious.

Preventative measures include the appropriate use of antibiotics as well as simply keeping hospitals and their patients clean.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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