David Denning of the National Aspergillosis Centre co-authored a new report published this week on the fungal disease burden in the UK. The calculation of better estimates are important evidence for the funding of programs to help diagnose and treat fungal disease, so this report should play a part in improving the future management of fungal disease in the UK by pointing out

  • The shortcomings of current data gathering in the UK for fungal disease
  • The shortcomings of current provision of diagnostics and treatment for these serious infections
  • The need to promote increased awareness amongst health professionals of the role that fungal disease plays in existing diseases such as severe asthma and TB
  • The need for increased urgency to halt and turn back the growing problems of antifungal drug resistance

Experts are warning of a significant increase in the number of people in the UK who are living with invasive and serious fungal diseases, partly because of increased survival of otherwise fatal illnesses and an increase in immunosuppression resulting from disease treatment.

In the UK there is no formal surveillance programme specific to fungal infections. There is a high degree of uncertainty around the total estimate of burden due to:

  • diagnostic limitations
  • the lack of a systematic national surveillance system
  • the limited number of studies published on the topic and the methodological limitations of calculating the burden.

However estimates for PCP, cryptococcal meningitis, invasive aspergillosis, chronic pulmonary aspergillosis , allergic pulmonary aspergillosis, severe asthma with fungal sensitization, invasive candidiasis, candida peritonitis, oesophageal candidiasis, and mucormycosis are published in this report. Invasive aspergillosis is the commonest missed infectious diagnosis in intensive care in the UK. It is always fatal without therapy and affects from 3,288 to 4,257 patients each year, most undiagnosed. Treated invasive aspergillosis has a 30-85 per cent mortality depending on the patient group.

For more detail go to LIFE-Worldwide

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