A fungal infection (= mycosis) is an infection caused by a fungus. Fungi consist of yeasts or moulds according to their appearance and means of growth. Candida species is a well known example of yeast-like fungi involved in infections.
Superficial and local infections
Local and superficial infections of the skin, hair, nails or mucous membranes (f.i. thrush) are very common. They are often caused by fungi such as Candida albicans which occurs naturally in the gastrointestinal tract, mouth and vagina. Only if the defence mechanism fails they can cause an infection. These kinds of infections can also be caused by moulds: dermatophytes f.i. ringworm (Tinea).
When the exact fungus is known the infection is called after the pathogen: Aspergillosis, Candidiasis, Cryptococosis, Pityriasis, Sporotrichosis to name but a few.
Infections of the nails are difficult to treat and can take up to 3 months or more to cure.
Eye infections can be caused by a variety of fungi f.i. the mould Aspergillus, but also by yeasts such as Candida.
Therapy of local infections
A single oral dose of 150 mg fluconazole is used to treat vaginal candidiasis or thrush.
Thrush may also be treated by Canesten or Gyno Daktarin preparations.
Terbinafine (Lamisil) tablets and cream are used for infections with Tinea.
Nail infections can be treated with Lamisil 250 mg orally for 6-12 weeks.
In both cases itraconazole (Sporanox, Trisporal) can also be used.
Fungal infections often occur in immune compromised people f.i. Pneumocystis carinii is such an opportunistic pathogen causing pneumonia in people with HIV. This needs specialist treatment.
Fungal infections can spread through the body and should ideally be treated according to the kind of infecting organism. In systemic infections it often takes too long to make a culture and identify the infecting fungus and treatment has to start without delay.
Most used in systemic infections are 100-200 mg per day of fluconazole (Diflucan) or itraconazole (Sporanox, Trisporal) orally.
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