Distribution of Pathogens and Outbreak Fungi in the Fungal Kingdom
Over 625 fungal species have been reported to cause infection in vertebrates. The fungal kingdom contains 167 orders, of which 40 (24%) were repeatedly cited in the medical literature. Recurrence indicates that these species have a certain predisposition to cause infection. In the present chapter, the different categories of pathogens and outbreak fungi are presented and discussed. Most emerging fungi concern infections that are non-transmissible; their frequency may show moderate increase due to changes of host conditions. Outbreaks may concern multiple infections from a common environmental source, known as sapronoses. When their life cycle has an invasive phase with adaptations to reside inside host tissue, the fungi are referred to as environmental pathogens. Host-to-host transmission occurs in zoophilic pathogens, which have no environmental phase. This kind of fungi is responsible for mycoses which may occur with changes in host factors and when naive host populations are exposed to novel fungal genotypes. The most dramatic transmissible mycoses are expected with a combination of host and fungal changes. Successful outbreak fungi are recognizable by low genetic diversity.
KeywordsOpportunistic fungi Pathogenic fungi Emerging fungi Epidemics Epizootics Outbreaks
The authors are indebted to Matthew Fisher for constructive discussions and comments on the text.
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