Fungi include a wide range of organisms, such as mushrooms, molds, and yeast, that are common outdoors in water, soil and air; indoors on surfaces; and on our skin and inside our bodies. Mold can worsen breathing problems in people with allergies or asthma, while various types of fungus can infect nails and cause skin rashes.
While healthy people rarely suffer from serious fungal infections, people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer patients, organ and stem cell transplant patients, and hospitalized patients are vulnerable to infection. There are only four classes of antifungal drugs, and fungal strains resistant to these drugs are emerging. Currently, there are no approved vaccines to prevent fungal infections.
NIAID conducts and supports basic research to understand how fungal pathogens cause disease and how the immune system responds to infection. NIAID is also conducting and supporting the science to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent fungal infections.
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To learn about risk factors for fungal infections and current prevention and treatment strategies visit the MedlinePlus fungal diseases site.