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Selected Fungal, Protozoan, and Parasite Diseases

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Selected Fungaland Protozoan Diseases
Updated Spring 2015Jerald D. Hendrix
Fungal Diseases
Cause:Candidaalbicansand several other species of the genusCandidaAnascomyceteGrows as yeast orpseudohyphae, dependent on cultural conditions (dimorphic)Very common normal flora in mouth, intestinal tract, and vaginal tractMany cases due to antibiotic usage (decreased bacterial flora to compete withCandida) and compromised immunity (such as AIDS)
SymptomsMucosal candidiasis: Oral candidiasis (thrush), esophageal candidiasis, intestinal candidiasis,candidalvulvovaginitis,candidalbalanitisCutaneous candidiasis andcandidalonychomycosisSystemic candidiasis:Candidalseptecemiaand liver damage
Cause: Several genera ofdermatophyticfungiTrichophyton, anascomyceteMicrosporum, anascomyceteEpidermophyton, anascomyceteGrow on skin, hair, nailsTransmitted by contact with infected persons or animals
SymptomsTineainfections: Red, scaly or blister-like lesions; often a raised red ring; “ringworm”Used together with Latin name of the body part:TineapedisTineacorporisTineacapitisTineabarbaeTineacrurisTineaunguium
CryptococcusneoformansandCryptococcusgattiiAbasidiomyceteSpores in contaminated soil; esp. contaminated with bird droppingsAirborne to humansGelatinous capsules resist phagocytosisRespiratory tract infectionsOccasional systemic infections involving brain & meninges
HistoplasmacapsulatumAnascomyceteAirborne infectionTransmitted by inhalation of spores in contaminatedsoilAssociated with chicken & bat droppingsRespiratory tract symptoms; fever, headache, cough, chest pains
BlastomycesdermatitidisAnascomyceteAssociated with dusty soil & bird droppingsSkin transmission: via cuts & abrasionsRaised, wart-like lesionsAirborne transmission: via inhalation of sporesRespiratory tract symptomsOccasional internal infections with high fatality rate
Pneumocystisjirovecii(formerlyPneumocystiscarinii)AnascomyceteTransmittedby airborne contactUsually asymptomatic or with mild respiratory symptomsCauses severe pneumonia inimmunocompromisedpersonsA major secondary infection & cause of death in AIDS patients
Protozoan Diseases
Cause:EntamoebahistolyticaA parasitic amoebaTransmitted via contaminated food & waterCysts are shed in the fecesWhen ingested:Excystationoccurs in the intestineTrophozoitesgrow & reproduce in the intestinal tract
SymptomsAbdominal painLittle diarrhea but often blood in the stool (“amebic dysentery”)Possibly of intestinal ulceration; perforation; infection of internal organs such as liver & lungs
Primary AmebicMeningoencephalitis
Cause:NaegleriafowleriA fresh water, free living amebaNo cyst stageSeveral cases of infections in swimmersTransmission and Symptoms:Transmission through the nasal & sinus passagesInfection of the brain & meningesHeadaches; delirium; seizures
Cause: GiardialambliaA flagellateddiplomonadThetrophozoitehas four pairs of flagella & two nuclei; giving it a face-like appearanceGrows in the intestinal tractCysts are shed in the feces
Transmission and SymptomsTransmitted via contaminated water & foodFoul-smelling profuse diarrheaSometimes chronicOften misdiagnosedDiagnosis via microscopic examinationEnterotest capsule
Cause:TrichomonasvaginalisFlagellatedparabasalidNo cyst stageTransmission & SymptomsTransmitted via sexual contactGenital itchingPainful urination with a white,mucoiddischargeOccasional reduction of sperm count or erosion of the cervix
Cause:BalantidiumcoliCiliatedalveolateTrophozoitesgrow in the intestinal tractCysts are shed in the feces and may remain embedded in intestinal walls, causing chronic infectionsTransmission & SymptomsContaminated water & foodUlceration in intestinesProfuse diarrhea
Cause:ToxoplasmagondiiAlveolateapicomplexianBoth asexual & sexual stagesInvasion of several areas of the body, including internal organs & muscle tissuePossibly the most prevalent protozoan parasite of humans
Transmission & SymptomsTransmitted via eating contaminated meatCysts are found in the meat, especially of grazing animals such as cattleCats can transmit the disease through their fecesLymph node swelling; flu-like symptoms
Transmission & Symptoms (cont.)Generally mild in non-immunosuppressed personsSevere infections in immunosuppressed personsPregnant women are in danger of fetal damage or miscarriage
Cause:PlasmodiumspeciesAlveolateapicomplexianComplex life cycle requiring two hosts: a mammal (human) and the mosquitoAnopheles
Transmission and SymptomsThe asexual merozoite stage infects human blood from the bite of a mosquitoThe parasite invades erythrocytes & reproducesErythrocytes break open & release the parasite; this causes the characteristic fever, chills, anemia, weakness, hemorrhagingIntense fever & chills about 48 - 72 hr after exposure, due to the simultaneous rupture of so many erythrocytes
Transmission and Symptoms (cont.)The sexual stage ofPlasmodiumdevelops in the human host and is picked up by a mosquitoThe sexual stage is completed in the salivary gland of the mosquito to complete the cycleTreatment by quinine & other antimalarial drugs
Cause:CryptosporidiumspeciesAlveolateapicomplexianA common protozoan parasite in humansTransmission and SymptomsContaminated waterMild diarrhea in non-immunosuppressed personsSevere diarrhea in immunosuppressed persons





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Selected Fungal, Protozoan, and Parasite Diseases