Human Fungal Diseases

04 March 2016

Over a billion people suffer from superficial fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and thrush worldwide, while life-threatening fungal infections cause an estimated 1.5 million deaths worldwide each year. This briefing outlines the important, but often overlooked, burden of human fungal diseases on public health. In particular, it highlights the serious risks and economic costs associated with life-threatening invasive fungal infections, such as invasive candidiasis and aspergillosis. These infections are associated with high mortality rates, affecting the growing population of immunocompromised patients, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer chemotherapy patients. The briefing notes how the fungal disease burden could be greatly reduced by improving development of, and global access to, new antifungal treatments and rapid diagnostics. And by strengthening public health capabilities and research on understanding and preventing fungal infection is also important.