Fungal Pneumonia

In regions where these fungal diseases flourish, doctors need to consider the diagnosis and testing for mycoses in all patients with suggestive illness - George Thompson

Fungal Pneumonia

image by: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

HWN Suggests

Lung infections caused by soil fungi are a problem nationwide

“People with fungal lung infection often spend weeks trying to get the right diagnosis and appropriate treatment, and the whole time they’re feeling terrible,” said lead author Patrick B. Mazi, MD, a clinical fellow in infectious diseases. “They usually have multiple health-care visits with multiple opportunities for testing and diagnosis, but the doctor just doesn’t consider a fungal infection until they’ve exhausted all other possibilities.”

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 Lung infections caused by soil fungi are a problem nationwide

Outdated maps of disease-causing fungi may lead to delayed, missed diagnoses.

4 key things to know about lung infections caused by fungi

Histoplasma, Blastomyces and Coccidioides fungi live in the soil as molds. Sometimes people breathe in spores the fungi give off as part of their natural life cycle. In the lungs, the fungi can transform into a quick-growing yeast form and cause a flulike illness, pneumonia or chronic disease. In a small number of cases, the fungi can spread to other parts of the body and cause more serious disease.


Pulmonary fungal disease is caused by various organisms of varying virulence and varying sensitivity to antifungal drugs. Immunocompromise, particularly neutropaenia is a major risk factor for invasive and disseminated disease.

The Lung Docs

The fungi that cause fungal pneumonia can be endemic (a fungus that’s native and restricted to a specific place) or opportunistic (a fungus that wouldn’t normally cause infections in otherwise healthy people, but are able to cause an infection due to many factors including organ transplant, cancer, immunodeficiency, etc.)

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