Despite an estimated 1.5 million species of fungi, ubiquitous in distribution resulting in constant exposure, few cause human disease. Those that do reflect a defect of immunity, either inherent or acquired. Although the taxonomy of fungi and the field of medical mycology are relatively young compared to other fields of microbiology, historical reports of fungi causing nail, hair, and superficial skin infections, as well as invasive disease, can be traced back to the mid-nineteenth century, prior to the advent of advanced therapeutics accounting for modern-day iatrogenic mycoses. Further, rather than causing true epidemics like bacteria and parasites, fungi were recognized to typically cause “sporadic” disease, that is, affecting select individuals, families, or races. The study of primary immunodeficiencies (PID) has led to the identification of critical genes that account, at least in part, for this inherent basis for susceptibility.
Spontaneously occurring fungal...
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