What Is Blood Fungus?

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What is sometimes termed “blood fungus” is actually a variety of cultures of living fungi that can exist in our bloodstream. Some of these “blood” fungi are non-pathogenic, or harmless, such as Penicillium, according to the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Some, however, are disease-producing fungi, also known as “pathogens.”

Definition

Blood fungus, also known as fungal sepsis or a “systemic fungal infection,” according to the Anaesthetist website on fungal infections, is a fungal “colonization” that starts in the bloodstream, but can spread to other parts of the body. Pathogenic blood fungus is an increasing problem in hospitals worldwide, according to a Centers for Disease Control website.

Candida Albicans

One serious blood fungus pathogen is Candida albicans. According to the Centers for Disease Control website, Candidemia—a condition caused by Candida albicans—may be the fourth-biggest agent of overall bloodstream infections in the U.S.

Aspergillus

Pulmonary Aspergillosis is caused when the spores of Aspergillus fungi, another pathogen, are inhaled, according to the Anaesthetist website. This condition can also develop into “Invasive Aspergillosis,” which has a high fatality rate among at-risk patients.

At-Risk Patients

Those most at risk for a blood fungus infection are patients undergoing chemotherapy or who have had a bone marrow transplant, patients whose immune system is compromised and patients in intensive care units, according to the CDC website.

Other Pathogens

Other blood fungus pathogens include: Candida parapsilosis, Histoplasmosis, Blastomycosis, Cryptococcus neoformans and Coccidioidomycosis, according to the Anaesthetist website.

Diagnosis and Treatment

An accurate diagnosis is vital with blood fungus, in order to receive proper treatment; blood fungus does not respond to antibiotics and many types are also resistant to anti-fungal drugs. Anti-retrovirus therapy can help raise survival odds with blood fungus pathogens such as pulmonary Aspergillosis, according to the Anaesthetist website.

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