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Section 9 – Mycotic Infections

Chapter 71 – Fungal Infections

Roderick J. Hay

The fungi are recognized causes of disease in all parts of the world. The commonest of the infections caused by these eukaryotic organisms are superficial, and include diseases such as dermatophytosis or ringworm and candidosis. However, extensive, deforming and potentially fatal deep or systemic fungal infections can also occur.[1] Fungal cells are similar to animal cells but are characterized by the presence of a polysaccharide-based cell wall. There are two principal types of fungi: the yeasts, single cells which reproduce by a process of bud formation to give rise to single daughter cells; and the mycelial or mould fungi, which form chains of contiguous cells, hyphae. Some fungi, the dimorphic fungi, exist as either yeasts or mycelia at different stages of their life cycles. Examples of dimorphic organisms include most of the major respiratory pathogens such as Histoplasma capsulatum and Coccidioides immitis. The …