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by CDC NCEZID category: Health
CDC and partners have organized the first Fungal Disease Awareness Week—with the theme “Think Fungus” —to raise awareness among the public and healthcare providers about fungal diseases. Some fungal diseases can cause serious infections in people in the U.S. and around the world, and often go undiagnosed because their symptoms look like those of other diseases. Increased awareness about fungal diseases is one of the most important ways we can improve early recognition and reduce delays in diagnosis and treatment, which can save lives. A key clue to when a sick person may have a fungal infection is that he or she is being treated with medications for other types of infection, but does not get better. We therefore encourage healthcare providers and their patients to “Think Fungus” when symptoms of infection are not getting better with treatment.
Most fungal infections are caused by breathing in fungi from the environment that are usually too small to see, or from touching fungi on surfaces. There are 1.5 million types of fungi, but only about 300 of those are known to make people sick. Common diseases that are usually mild include ringworm and vaginal yeast infections. However, these fungi can cause serious infections, even in people who are otherwise healthy. Other fungal diseases that affect the lungs, bloodstream, or brain, like Valley fever and candidemia are more serious and can be deadly.
Serious fungal infections are more likely to affect people with weakened immune systems from certain medical conditions or treatment for those conditions. This group includes people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, an organ or stem cell transplant, and people in hospitals, or those taking medicine or going through treatment that weaken the immune system.
Join us in sharing information to increase awareness in your community about fungal diseases. The quicker doctors can diagnose the right illness, the quicker a patient can be treated the right way!
CDC's National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID) works to protect people from emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases, from anthrax to Zika.