WHO Collaborating Center for the Mycoses
Mycotic infections pose an increasing threat to public health. Opportunistic infections, such as aspergillosis, candidiasis, and cryptococcosis, have emerged as major problems in cancer patients, transplant recipients, and other immunocompromised individuals, including those with AIDS. Classical infections, such as histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis, have appeared in new forms in these patients. There has also been an upsurge in the number of "harmless" environmental fungi - organisms that live in the soil, on plants, in compost heaps, or on rotting food - that have been implicated as causes of serious illness or death in immunocompromised individuals.
The scientific and medical staff of the Mycotic Diseases Branch are responding to these emerging fungal infections through increased epidemiologic surveillance and response, applied research, and prevention and control efforts.
The spectrum of epidemiologic activities includes investigations of outbreaks, surveillance for trends in invasive fungal infections, determination of risk factors, the development and evaluation of prevention guidelines and intervention strategies. Laboratory activities include collaboration in outbreak investigations and surveillance studies, and applied research aimed at control and prevention of mycotic diseases through application of advancements in mycologic, molecular biologic and immunologic methods.