Zygomycosis: the re-emerging fungal infection

  • M. Chayakulkeeree
  • M. A. Ghannoum
  • J. R. Perfect


Invasive fungal infections are major medical complications in immunocompromised patients. The recent rise in the incidence of cancer and the increased use of newer medical treatment modalities, including organ transplantations, have resulted in growing numbers of highly immunosuppressed individuals. Although aspergillosis and candidiasis are among the most common invasive mycoses in such patients, there is evidence that the incidence of infectious diseases caused by Zygomycetes has risen significantly over the past decade. Patients with diabetes, malignancies, solid organ or bone marrow transplants, or iron overload and those receiving immunosuppressive agents, deferoxamine therapy, or broad-spectrum antimicrobial drugs are at highest risk for zygomycosis. This review details the emergence and importance of zygomycosis in current clinical practice and its manifestations and management. The etiologic species, pathogenesis and risk factors for zygomycosis are reviewed and updated. The clinical spectrum of zygomycosis is now broader, and it can be difficult to distinguish between mucormycosis and enthomophthoramycosis, both of which can manifest as disease ranging from a superficial infection to an angioinvasive infection with high mortality. Finally, the three-part treatment strategy (antifungal drugs, surgery, control of underlying diseases) is reviewed. Lipid formulations of amphotericin B are the antifungal agents of choice for treatment of zygomycosis. A novel antifungal triazole, posaconazole, has been developed and may become approved for treatment of zygomycosis. The clinical experience with adjunctive treatments like colony-stimulating factors, interferon-gamma, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy is still limited.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Chayakulkeeree
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. A. Ghannoum
    • 3
  • J. R. Perfect
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious DiseasesDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj HospitalMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand
  3. 3.Center for Medical Mycology, Department of DermatologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Molecular Genetics and MicrobiologyDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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