Definition of Fungi and and Infections

Variety of mushrooms
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Definition: Kingdom of multicellular, heterotrophic (decomposes other living things for food) organisms with thick cell walls.

Fungi characteristically grow as thread-like filaments (hyphae), but also exist in other growth forms, such as mushrooms and single-celled yeasts.

Fungi can cause two types of infection:

Those who have weak immune systems may be at more risk. Those receiving chemotherapy, sick from certain cancers, or have immune deficiencies, such as do to HIV.

  • Superficial Mycoses -- These infections occur at the body surface, such as the hair, nails, and skin, and are usually mild. They can include ringworm, jock itch, and athlete's foot.
  • Deep Mycoses -- These infections involve the internal organs and can be potentially life threatening. They often occur as opportunistic infections in immunocompromised individuals. Examples of deep mycoses include infections by Candida, Coccidioidomycosis, Histoplasma, and Aspergillis.

Pronunciation: FUN-jai or FUN-guy

Also Known As: Fungus (singular)

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