The most dangerous mushrooms for health

The World Health Organization (WHO) presented this Tuesday for the first time a list of the 19 most dangerous infectious fungi for public health and warned that their presence in patients is increasingly common, while treatments against them are still not they are sufficiently developed.

Fungi are divided into three categories according to their level of risk to humans, and four of them are considered particularly dangerous: cryptococcus neoformansthe smoked aspergillusand two fungi of the genus Candida (the auris and the albicans).

pneumonia or meningitis

The first of them can cause acute pneumonia and meningitis, the aspergillus it can be particularly dangerous in immunosuppressed patients, and fungi of the candida genus can cause vaginal, oral, intestinal or other infections, commonly known as candidiasis.

The WHO warns with the publication of this list that most of these pathogens do not yet have rapid diagnostic systems, or they are not accessible in all countries, while there are only four classes of fungicidal medicines available on the market, with very few more in research processes.

In their most invasive forms, these fungi can be especially serious for risk groups such as cancer patients, HIV-positive people, people who have received a transplanted organ, those affected by chronic respiratory diseases or those infected with tuberculosis.

Climate change

According to the experts of the Geneva-based organization, infections of these fungi, for which complete statistics are not yet available, are increasing due to climate change and the increase in international travel, with a special rise in infections in hospitals.

There is also an increase in the resistance of these fungi to treatments, something that has been noted in cases of oral or vaginal candidiasis, which increases the risk of developing more dangerous species.

“Infections by these fungi receive little attention and resources”, which contributes to the currently limited knowledge about the distribution and extension in many geographical areas, warns the WHO.

The inappropriate use of fungicides, for example in agriculture, is increasing the problem by developing species that are more resistant to treatment, for example in the case of Aspergillus fumigatus, underlines the United Nations body.

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