Fungal infections are a global health risks: WHO
Science & Technology
28th Oct, 2022
Recently, WHO published a report highlighting the first-ever list of fungal "Priority pathogens" – a catalogue of the 19 fungi that represent the greatest threat to public health.
Highlights of the Report:
- The WHO fungal priority pathogens list (FPPL) is the first global effort to systematically prioritize fungal pathogens, considering the unmet research and development (R&D)needs and the perceived public health importance.
- The 19 Fungi identified as categorically as fungi of concern are mentioned in the table below.
- Objective:The WHO FPPL aims to focus and drive further research and policy interventions to strengthen the global response to fungal infections and antifungal resistance.
- Fungal pathogensare a major threat to public health as they are becoming increasingly common and resistant to treatment with only four classes of antifungal medicines currently available.
- Antifungal drugs are medications that are used to treat fungal infections.
- While most fungal infections affect areas such as the skin and nails, some can lead to more serious and potentially life-threatening conditions like meningitis or pneumonia.
- According to the Report, most fungal pathogens lack rapid and sensitive diagnostics and those that exist are not widely available or affordable globally.
- The invasive forms of these fungal infections often affect severely ill patients and those with significant underlying immune system-related conditions.
- Populations at the greatest risk of invasive fungal infections include those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, chronic respiratory disease, and post-primary tuberculosis infection.
- The WHO FPPL list is divided into three categories:
- High and
- Medium priority.
- The fungal pathogens in each priority category are so ranked primarily due to their public health impact and/or emerging antifungal resistance risk.
There are many types of fungal infections. Some of the most common fungal infections are those of the skin, nails, and mucous membranes. Examples include:
- Ringworm (also known as tinea): a fungal infection of the skin that can occur on your scalp, on your feet (athlete’s foot), in your groin area (jock itch), and on other areas of your body
- Nail fungus: an infection that typically affects your toenails but can also affect your fingernails
- Vaginal yeast infection: an infection that occurs due to the overgrowth of Candida yeast in and around the vagina
- Oral thrush: a condition in which Candida yeast overgrows in your mouth.