Yeasts are unicellular fungi which usually appear as oval cells 1-5 µm wide by 5-30 µm long. They have typical eukaryotic structures. They have a thick polysaccharide cell wall. They are facultative anaerobes. Human infections are normally systemic. There have been speculations about the possibility of zoonotic infection of yeasts in poultry farmers.
This research work is aimed at looking at the facts associated with yeast infections and fungi infections in general in both man and poultry including the risk factors, causes, diagnostic and preventive measures.
However, the main focus of the work will be to prove that there exists a zoonotic relationship between poultry farmers and the poultry which they rear. When this relationship is established, we would look at the prevalence of such cases within the Abakaliki metropolis.
Fungi are organisms that can grow in or on the body, causing infections of internal organs or of the skin, nails, and hair (Kaiser 2012). Bread mold and mushrooms are among the most familiar examples of fungi organisms that grow in an irregular mass without roots, stems, or leaves.
Fungi feed on other organisms, living or dead, and play an important role in helping dead plants and animals decay. Fungi include yeasts, molds, and fleshy fungi. They are eukaryotic with a rigid cell wall. They are chemo-heterotrophs (organisms that require organic compounds for both carbon and energy sources) and obtain their nutrients by absorption.
They also obtain nutrients as saprophytes, or as parasites (Pappas et al, 2009).
Of the thousands of species of fungi, only a few can cause human disease. These fungi cause a wide range of illnesses, from minor skin conditions to life-threatening diseases. They produce two kinds of infections: systemic and superficial. Systemic infections affect internal organs.
They often start in the lungs, but in severe cases may spread to the blood, heart, brain, kidneys, liver, or other parts of the body. Superficial infections affect the surface of the body, the skin, the nails, and the hair. They most often occur in moist areas, such as between the toes, in the crotch, or in the mouth (Goehring and Richard, 2008).
Many fungal infections, or mycoses, of humans and animals affect only the outer layers of skin, and although they are sometimes difficult to cure, they are not considered dangerous. Athlete's foot and ringworm are among the common superficial fungal infections.
Fungal infections of the mucous membranes are caused primarily by Candida albicans. It usually affects the mouth (see thrush) and the vaginal and anal regions. The fungi that affect the deeper layers of skin and internal organs are capable of causing serious, often fatal illness (Mandell et al, 2010).