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Clinical Groupings for Fungal Infections

The following clinical groupings may be recognized

Superficial Mycoses

These are superficial cosmetic fungal infections of the skin or hair shaft. No living tissue is invaded and there is no cellular response from the host. These infections are often so innocuous that patients are often unaware of their condition.

Cutaneous Mycoses

These are superficial fungal infections of the skin, hair or nails. No living tissue is invaded, however a variety of pathological changes occur in the host because of the presence of the infectious agent and its metabolic products.

Subcutaneous Mycoses

These are chronic, localized infections of the skin and subcutaneous tissue following the traumatic implantation of the aetiologic agent. The causative fungi are all soil saprophytes whose ability to adapt to the tissue environment and elicit disease is extremely variable.

Dimorphic Systemic Mycoses

These are fungal infections caused by fungal pathogens which can overcome the defences of the normal human host by changing their morphological form. They are geographically restricted and the primary site of infection is usually pulmonary, following the inhalation of conidia.

Opportunistic Systemic Mycoses

These are fungal infections which occur almost exclusively in debilitated patients whose normal defence mechanisms are impaired. The organisms involved are cosmopolitan fungi which have a very low inherent virulence.

Disclaimer: The National Mycology Reference Centre does not provide patient consultations or referrals. Individuals with concerns about fungal infection should seek advice from a registered healthcare professional. Information is provided for education and scientific purposes only and is not intended to replace advice from a registered healthcare professional. Information about a service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement.

School of Biological Sciences



Dr David Ellis