According to a new study, harmful fungi kill and infect more people than once thought. By examining healthcare data from a variety of countries, the researcher estimated that 6.55 million people, globally, suffer from fungal diseases each year. More than 2.5 million of these patients die from the infection. Prior estimates of worldwide fungal deaths ranged from 1.5-2 million. The analysis also found that 11.5 million people experience fungal asthma (asthma triggered by fungi). Approximately 46,000 individuals die as a result. The number of fungal illnesses and deaths had been undercounted for a few reasons. Fungal infections worsen conditions like AIDS, leukemia and lung cancer, and the deaths of these patients are often attributed to those illnesses, even if fungal infection was the primary cause. A high number of fungal infections are never identified because the patient or the healthcare system lack access to the necessary tests. Dr. David Denning, the paper’s author, offered several recommendations for reducing the number of preventable deaths, including better awareness of physicians about fungal infections, wider availability of diagnostic tools and timely lab testing.
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