These include: Serious illness and debility, Cancer or leukaemia, Diabetes mellitus, Transplant, Massive doses of antibiotics, Parenteral nutrition, Drug addiction, Infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
People with AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), people with leukemia (cancer of the blood cells), and people with Hodgkin's disease or other kinds of lymphoma (cancer of the immune system) are at risk for opportunistic fungal infections because their immune systems have been weakened. Such infections may also occur in people who are receiving radiation therapy or chemotherapy, or who are taking corticosteroids or immunosuppressant drugs, such as the drugs a person takes after an organ transplant (Mandell et al, 2010).
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF FUNGAL INFECTION
Signs and Symptoms of Superficial Fungal Infections in Humans
Although the symptoms produced by infection with different types of fungi varies, these infections generally causes itching, reddened skin, and inflammation. Some superficial skin infections are mild and produce few or no symptoms. Others are more irritating. Superficial fungal infections are rarely life threatening, but they may cause considerable discomfort or embarrassment (Goehring and Richard 2008).
Signs and Symptoms of Systemic Fungal Infections in Humans
Systemic fungal infections often are chronic and develop slowly, taking weeks or months to become a problem. Symptoms are sometimes similar to those of the common cold, but sometimes, especially in people with weakened immune systems, symptoms may be sudden and severe, requiring hospitalization. Symptoms may include cough, fever, chills, night sweats, anorexia (loss of appetite), weight loss, general fatigue, and depression.
If the infection spreads from the lungs to other organs, it may be particularly severe, especially if the patient has a weakened immune system. For example, cryptococcosis may lead to meningitis, which causes inflammation and swelling of the lining around the brain and spinal cord (Goehring and Richard 2008).
If symptoms of histoplasmosis infection occur, they will start within 3 to 17 days after exposure; the average is 12-14 days. Most affected individuals have clinically silent manifestations and show no apparent ill effects (Silberberg, 2007). The acute phase of histoplasmosis is characterized by non-specific respiratory symptoms, often cough or flu-like. Chest X-ray findings are normal in 40-70% of cases (Silberberg, 2007). Chronic histoplasmosis cases can resemble tuberculosis; (Tong et al, 2003) disseminated histoplasmosis affects multiple organ systems and is fatal unless treated (Kauffman 2007).
While histoplasmosis is the most common cause of mediastinitis , this remains a relatively rare disease. Severe infections can cause hepatosplenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, and adrenal enlargement (Ryan, Ray 2004). Lesions have a tendency to calcify as they heal. Ocular histoplasmosis damages the retina of the eyes. Scar tissue is left on the retina which can experience leakage, resulting in a loss of vision not unlike macular degeneration.
Signs and Symptoms of Systemic Fungal Infections in Poultry
- Weakness: Intestinal fungi eat some of bird's food & damage organs that digest food.
- Labored Breathing / Gurgling / Respiratory Illness: Air passages are restricted by fungi.
- Poor Appetite: Bird not very interested in eating because not feeling well, in some cases. Some medicines may also make birds temporarily feel worse & eat even less.
- Emaciation / Starving: Breast muscle may shrink so much that breastbone feels like a sharp ridge sticking out of chest. Eyes will look sunken in as well.
- Some bright green & watery droppings: Too little food is going through bird's system, and more green bile gets concentrated in each poop.
- Anemia: Blood becomes thin & pale, and bone marrow is pale yellow.
- Infertility / Egg Laying stopped
- Overheating & Panting: Respiratory system may be restricted & bird isn't able to use panting to cool down as well as normal.
- Internal bleeding: Especially in the breast & leg muscles, and intestines.
- Death: May occur from prolonged, severe infection (Ryan and Ray, 2004) (Cotran et al 2005) (Gauthier and Ludlow, 2008).