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WHO releases list of fungi most dangerous to human health (and 4 are very common!)

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WHO releases list of fungi most dangerous to human health (and 4 are very common!)

Fungal infections are responsible for about 1.7 million deaths and 150 million serious hospitalizations worldwide

The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a list of fungal pathogens that pose a threat to human health. According to the entity, organizations are increasingly resistant to treatments and its presence in patients is more common. In all, there are 19 fungi divided into three classes, according to risk: medium, high and critical.



At the top of the critical priority list, the agency highlighted four fungi that should be studied, namely:

  • Aspergillus fumigatus: produce spores that become airborne and can threaten the lung health of patients who already have compromised immune systems;
  • Candida albicans: It is a fungus naturally present in the body and can be found in various areas of the body, being more frequent in the vaginal mucosa of women. It is primarily responsible for candidiasis and can cause infections in immunosuppressed people, as well as asthma-like illnesses, pulmonary fibrosis or a non-cancerous tumor;
  • Cryptococcus neoformans: this type of fungus can cause deadly brain infections. It is one of the leading causes of illness in patients with HIV and AIDS and kills at least 180,000 people annually worldwide;
  • Candida auris: known as a “superfungus”, grows on yeast and can lead to serious and deadly infections. Its mortality rate can reach 60%; it is more common to spread in healthcare settings and is highly drug resistant. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Anvisa confirmed 18 cases of the infection in hospitalized patients with the disease.

It is important to highlight that fungal infections are responsible for about 1.7 million deaths and more than 150 million serious hospitalizations around the world annually. They usually affect people who are already seriously ill, such as cancer or tuberculosis patients.

Fungi listed show high resistance to treatments

The WHO has similar lists of viruses and bacteria that serve as guides in determining which studies to prioritize. However, the agency points out that the yeast infections and their resistance to treatments are a health risk due to lack of focus and vigilance over the years.

In addition, with the pandemic and the increase in the number of people being admitted to hospitals, the place where these pathologies are most spread, fungi can be fatal for people already compromised.



“Countries are encouraged to take a step-by-step approach, starting with strengthening their fungal disease surveillance and laboratory capacities, and ensuring equitable access to existing quality therapies and diagnostics globally,” said Haileyesus Getahun, WHO Director of the Department of Global Coordination of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

The entity also recalled that the heated environment, a consequence of global warming, favors the proliferation and adaptation of fungi — making them more capable of infecting people, in addition to the high possibility of the emergence of new variants.

Finalizing the list, the WHO classified the following fungi as high priority:

  • histoplasma

  • eumycetoma

  • Mucorals

  • Fusarium spp

  • candida tropicalis

  • Nakaseomyces

  • Candida parapsilosis.

As a medium priority, there are fungi:

  • Scedosporium

  • Lomentospora prolificans

  • Coccidioides

  • Pichia kudriavzeveii

  • Cryptococcus gattii

  • Talaromyces marneffei

  • Pneumocystis jirovecii

  • Paracoccidioides.

How to prevent yeast infections?

Generally, fungi live harmoniously with the body, but they can cause diseases when they manage to circumvent the body’s protective barriers – which happens especially when the immune system is weakened.

Learn more: 10 Warning Signs of Low Immunity

In the case of these fungi, it is important to adopt healthy habits to prevent the immune system from being harmed from a proper nutrition, exercise and good sleep quality.

People who have pre-existing illnesses, such as diabetes and HIV, should maintain treatment with a specialist to keep defense cells fully functioning. Neglecting care can worsen the condition, leading to worsening immunity and, consequently, increasing the risk of fungal infections.

In the case of fungi found in the environment, the main prevention and control measure to be taken is Avoid direct exposure to these organisms. If this is not possible, the Ministry of Health recommends the use of personal protective equipment, in particular masks. In case of contact with contaminated objects or places, you should wash your hands with soap and water.

For healthcare professionals, hand washing is recommended before handling patients, especially those in isolation. According to the agency’s guidelines, there must be constant monitoring of air and water quality in order to reduce the number of infections in the hospital environment.



Content for educational purposes only. Consult a Doctor.

The translator user relied on the following source:

Minha Vida Website – REF99827

Disclaimer – (English version>) This content has been prepared based on information from research, additional publications, or the translation/verification work of a volunteer editor of this web council. This is a non-profit service. It is strongly recommended that all details and information published be carefully verified. We never allow medication recommendations, medication package inserts or any medication guidance. We never allow partisan politics as information.

Isenção de responsabilidade – (versão em português): Este conteúdo foi preparado com base em informações de pesquisas, publicações adicionais ou no trabalho de tradução/verificação de um editor voluntário deste conselho web. Este é um serviço sem fins lucrativos. É altamente recomendável que todos os detalhes e informações publicadas sejam verificadas cuidadosamente. Nunca permitimos recomendações de medicamentos, bulas ou qualquer orientação sobre medicamentos. Nunca permitimos a política partidária como base para checagem. Para mais informações, leia nossos termos.

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