Opportunistic Fungal Infections

by Vincent Racaniello, PhD

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    Hello and welcome to Opportunistic Fungal Infections. After listening to this lecture, you'll be able to name some fungi that cause opportunistic infections. You will be familiar with the pathogenesis and the epidemiology of candidiasis cryptococcosis, aspergillosis and pneumocystosis, and you'll know which drugs can be used to treat opportunistic fungal infections. The first opportunistic infection we'll consider is candidiasis. Now opportunistic signifies that in most people, these fungi do not cause disease, it's only when there's an opportunity, such as immunosuppression, do they cause problems. And candidiasis may be caused by three different species of candida; Candida albicans, Candida glabrata and Candida parapsiloses. And these pictures of candida show the typical fluffy white appearance of the colonies on an agar plate, that's the picture on the left and on the right is in the microscope, you can see the single cells of Candida. So this can assume a yeast configuration, it can also assume a mycelial configuration. Candida species are normal inhabitants of our skin and our mucosal surfaces, such as our mouth and the genital tract. So here's a case where everybody has these bacteria, excuse me, everybody has these fungi, but in only certain situations do they cause disease. So, when is candidiasis a problem? Those individuals at risk for this disease include: the immunosuppressed, if you're having an organ transplant and you need to have drugs to reduce the risk of rejection of the organ, patients in intensive care units, the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics that can alter the normal microbial flora and allow certain species to overgrow, people who have kidney failure and they require dialysis and needles need to be inserted into these individuals repeatedly, that can introduce the candida below the surface of the skin, which is where it normally inhabits. Central intravenous...

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Opportunistic Fungal Infections by Vincent Racaniello, PhD is from the course Fungi. It contains the following chapters:

    • Opportunistic Fungal Infections
    • Candidiasis
    • Candidiasis - Diagnosis
    • Candidiasis - Treatment
    • Cryptococcosis
    • Aspergillosis
    • Pneumocystis Pneumonia (PCP)
    • Opportunistic Fungal Infections: Learning Outcomes

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. A patient with a history of hypertension.
    2. A patient with a central intravenous catheter.
    3. A patient consistently using broad-spectrum antibiotics.
    4. A patient with kidney failure on dialysis.
    5. A patient who has undergone an organ transplant and is on immunosuppressive drugs.
    1. ...a white coating of thick cells on the mucosal surfaces of the mouth or the reproductive organs.
    2. ...jaundice of the eyes and skin.
    3. ...fever, chest pain, cough and shortness of breath or dyspnea.
    4. ...symptoms of pneumonia.
    5. ...destruction of the blood vessel as a result of this mycelial growth.
    1. It can infect the lungs, leading to COPD.
    2. It can infect the brain, leading to meningitis.
    3. It can infect the eye, leading to chorioretinitis.
    4. It can cause hepatosplenic abscesses.
    5. It can cause vertebral osteomyelitis.
    1. By inhaling the spores formed by the fungus.
    2. From person-to-person via the fecal-oral route.
    3. By inhalation of aerosolized spores from coughing or sneezing.
    4. By sexual transmission.
    5. Through an open wound.
    1. Aspergillus is part of the normal gut flora.
    2. We can take biopsies of various tissues to document invasion and we can see the typical cellular forms or the hyphal forms of Aspergillus.
    3. It can be treated with voriconazole, amphotericin B and caspofungin.
    4. Spores are inhaled initially and when they go into the lungs, they germinate and start to grow as hyphae.
    5. Inhalation of spores can lead to severe disease in the immunosuppressed or compromised.
    1. Do a lumbar puncture and look at the CSF, the cerebrospinal fluid, for budding yeasts.
    2. SIlver-stained sputum samples from the lung.
    3. Use sputum samples from the lung and stain them with antibodies directed against the antigen of the fungus.
    4. PCR on the bronchoalveolar lavage.
    5. A biopsy taken to discover the nucleic acid of the organism.
    1. Aspergillus; Itraconazole.
    2. Candida and Aspergillus; Fluconazole.
    3. Candida and Cryptococcus; Voriconazole.
    4. Aspergillus; Nystatin.
    5. Cryptococcus and Candida; Flucytosine.

    Author of lecture Opportunistic Fungal Infections

     Vincent Racaniello, PhD

    Vincent Racaniello, PhD

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