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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections


Fungal infections in humans can range from common, mild superficial infections such as athlete's foot and thrush (both vaginal and oral) to serious life-threatening diseases such as invasive aspergillosis.

Aspergillus flavus

Image used with permission from The Aspergillus Trust [external link].

The yeasts responsible for thrush form part of the normal commensal flora in humans, living harmlessly on skin, respiratory, gastrointestinal and genital tracts until a change in the host allows them to cause infection.The dermatophytes, or ringworm fungi, which cause athlete's foot and other infections of the skin, hair and nails are dependent on a human or animal host and are passed from person to person or animal to person. Most fungi, however, are free living in the environment and few of these are capable of causing infection in an otherwise healthy individual but can be responsible for life-threatening infections in patients with lowered immunity.