There are various types of diseases caused by fungi in humans. I am going to mention some of the different diseases also the fungi that is mostly responsible for the particular infections. I am also going to mention in brief, some of their habitats and how humans can come into contact with such diseases. It is so easy to become a victim, especially if you are unaware, it can cost you a whole lot, concerning your health.
Fungi diseases in humans
There are about 30 humans diseases,that are caused by fungi.Such fungi resides in the soil, entering the body through a skin puncture or the lungs.
However, some fungi diseases can spread between humans or, from animals to humans, in addition, lesions of the skin are produced by certain fungi.
The fungous infections are called Mycosis, the most common are the superficial infections called Dermatomycosis or Dermotophytosis. The less common are the deep-seated infections known as Systemic Mycosis.
Dermatomycosis (superficial fungous infections in humans)
Dermatomycosis are mycoses of the skin, hair and nails, but never the internal organs. Infections known as ringworm or tinea was named herpes (meaning ring), by the greeks because the disease had a circular form.
The romans which believed the infections to be associated with lice, named it tinea (meaning any small insect, or larva). The english in turn, named it ringworm, which came from a combination of both greek and roman.
The fungi that causes dermatomycosis, are among the few living orgasms capable of utilizing keratin, the horny substance found in the stratum corneum of the epidermis (the skin) and in hair, nails and feathers.
They are believed to be natural parasites of men and other warm- blooded animals, requiring keratin, moisture also a regulated body temperature for fast growth. Some infect only humans, while others are common parasites of animals, particularly cats and dogs.
Most of which can be grown on a suitable media, some have even shown to live for up to 2 or 3 years on cereal grains, shed hair and other debris containing keratin.
Fungi responsible for dermatomycosis (superficial fungous infections in humans)
There are about 2 dozen fungi species that cause ringworms, they are grouped in 3 genera; a.) Microsporum (hair and skin infection), b.) Epidermophyton (skin and nails infection) and c.) Trichophyton (all three). Here’s a list of some of the fungi, that are held accountable for the dermatomycosis infections in humans;
a.) Microsporum canis and Trichophyton Mentagrophytes, – are the fungi responsible for Tinea barbae (barbers’ itch, ringworm of the beard), which causes inflamation of the hair and follicks of beard. It is usually acquired from animals, some forms may even spread through barber shops.
b.) Epidermophyton Floccosum, – is a fungi mostly responsible for an infection known as Tinea cruris (ringworm of the groin, dhobie itch). Infecting smooth skin, with large continuous patches on each groin, the rash is usually pink to red and scaly, itching and sometimes causing pain.
c.) Trichophyton M and Trichophyton rubrum (purpureum), – these fungi are the leading cause of an infection known as Dermatophytosis (athlete’s foot, pedis). Resulting in blisters on toes, cracks between toes, burning, itching, paining and is also spreadable. This is a fungi that lives for weeks on fiber, wooden floors, rubbery mats and even clothes etc.
d.) Trichophyton S, a fungi, mainly responsible for the disease called Tinea favosa (ringworm on the scalp, favus). Infecting the scalp, causing dry and yellow crusts, shaping like cup with rims while adhering tightly to the scalp. The crusts also leave permanent bald spots on the scalp.
e.) Microsporum and Trichopyton, both fungi species are the cause of the infection known as Tinea corporis or Tinea circinata (ringworm of the body).Which also infects smooth areas of the skin, lesions dry, scaling with ringlike forms, at times moist and crusted. This disease is usually caught from infected persons and animals, mainly cats and dogs.
f.) Microsporum furfur, – a fungi that is responsible for the infection called Tinea versicolor (chromophytosis, phyriasis versicolor), which causes small slightly raised macules, usually finely, scaly and lightly tan to brown. Developing mostly on chest, shoulders, arms, back and also the abdomen. Lesions may disappear due to the exposure of ultraviolet light but will leave pale spots.
g.) Trichophyton (achorion) schoenleinii and Candida albicans, – these are fungi responsible for the infection known as Tinea unguim and Onychomycosis (ringworm of the nails). Whereas the toenails and fingernails becoming irregular, thickened or crumbly and discolored. Unfortunately, healing is rare so this disease can last for years.
h.) Trichophyton (endodermophyton) concentricum, – this fungi is the cause of an infection known as Tinea imbricata (tokelau ringworm, malabar itch). Resulting in concentric rings of brownish overlapping scales, that may widespread the whole body. This disease is also contagious and can be acquired through bodily contact.
Systemic mycosis (deep-seated fungous infections in humans)
The deep-seated mycotic infections are often difficult to treat and diagnose. These are fungi that can invade the internal organs, eyes and bones. Some exist as both spores (the infectious particles) and yeast (the parasitic stage).
The mycosis can range from a transient infection, to a fatal disease. The latter include respiratory infections, infections of the central nervous system, lymph nodes and all the internal organs of the body. These infections are often rare and are usually seen in patients debilitated by other diseases such as cancer.
Fungi, responsible for systemic mycosis (deep-seated fungous infections in humans)
a.) Aspergillus fumigatus – This is a fungi, responsible for a disease called Aspergillosis, resulting in tubercules in the lungs, with symptoms the same as chronic tuberculosis. Though this disease may be fatal, it is usually rare and can be acquired by the handling of rye flour, grain and also birds. This fungi is considered to be related to the blue and green molds of bread.
b.) Histoplasma capsulatum, – is a fungi mostly responsible for an infection called Histoplasmosis, involving an enlarged liver, hodgkins disease, leukopenia and pulmonary tuberculosis. This disease is known to be fatal and can be transmitted from pets but the point of entry is still unknown.
c.) Blastomyces dermatitidis, – a fungi that is responsible for a disease known as Blastomycosis, which causes multiple abscesses, granulomas and ulcers, much like tuberculosis. It is widely distributed in nature and is one of the most common of the serious mycosis. how it is acquired is still not known.
d.) Candida albicans (monilia albicans) – a fungi that causes the infection known as Mycotic stomatitis (thrush), which involves, white on mucous membrane, especially the mouth, usually mild and localized. This fungi is also distributed universally on plant life and is also found in the mouth, throat and digestive tract.
e.) Sporotrichum, – is a fungi specie, that’s responsible for a disease called Sporotrichosis, leaving lesions of the skin, with symptoms similar to syphilis and tularemia. This fungi is mostly found in the soil and plants and can acquired through broken skin or by the bites of some fungi carrying insects. This disease is also considered to be among the most common of the serious mycosis.
f.) Streptobacillus, – this is a fungi responsible for the infection, known as Haverhill fever (rat bite fever), wherein, the wound of a rat bite would heal but later it would become sore and inflamed.Later, causing headaches, vomiting, arthritis and even chills. This fungi is a natural parasite of rats and mice, leading sometimes to rodent epidemics.
g.) Penicillium notatum, – this fungi inflicts a disease called Penicilliosis, which causes pulmonary abscess, otomycosis and maduromycosis. Though this disease is rare, the antibiotics known as penicillin is produced from the same fungi.
h.) Actinomyces and Nocardia, – both of these fungi species are responsible for the disease called Maduromycosis (madura foot, mycetoma), resulting in the destruction of the liver, soft tissues and bone. Also causing chronic granuloma of feet and legs.This disease is mostly common south vietnam, dutch east indies and africa.
We must bare in mind
Although many fungi species are utilized for good purposes, many different species can cause various diseases in humans, some of which are curable and some are incurable, and can become fatal diseases. Fungi exists almost anywhere, making it so easy to come into contact with. The simple things we overlook sometimes creates the biggest problems.