INCREASE IN LIFE THREATENING FUSARIUM INFECTIONS

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In the past several decades there has been a large increase in the number of invasive infections caused by Fusarium molds (fusariosis). Fusarium is a common mold (fungus) which often infects crops such as grains and fruits and produces a large number of toxins (mycotoxins) such as trichothecene and fumonisin mycotoxins.

J Guarro. Fusariosis, a complex infection caused by a high diversity of fungal species refractory to treatment. European Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Disease. 2013; In Press

Macio Nucci et al. Increased incidence of invasive fusariosis with cutaneous portal of entry, Brazil. Emerging Infectious Diseases October 2013;19(10)1567-72.

Invasive Fusarium infections have a 50-90% mortality rate. Invasive Fusarium infections are most common in immunocompromised patients (HIV, some cancers, bone and organ transplants). However, rates of invasive Fusarium are growing rapidly even among non-immunocompromised patients. Invasive Fusarium infections are difficult to treat, with standard antifungal drugs such as amphotericin B and voriconazole offering only modest efficacy.
A Brazilian hospital reported 21 patients who developed invasive Fusarium infections following skin Fusarium infections. Median age of patients was only 55 years. Patients were treated aggressively with the strong antifungal agents amphotericin B and/or voriconazole. Fifteen of 21 patients (71.4%) died within 60 days of the Fusarium infections. Much more research is needed to provide earlier diagnosis and better treatment for invasive infections by Fusarium and other common molds such as Aspergillus and Candida.

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