Overview of Invasive Fungal Infections

The incidence of invasive fungal infections (IFIs) has seen a marked increase in the last two decades. This is especially evident among transplant recipients, patients suffering from AIDS, in addition to those in receipt of immunosuppressive therapy. Worryingly, this increased incidence includes infections caused by opportunistic fungi and emerging fungal infections which are resistant to or certainly less susceptible than others to standard antifungal agents. As a direct response to this phenomenon, there has been a resolute effort over the past several decades to improve early and accurate diagnosis and provide reliable screening protocols thereby promoting the administration of appropriate antifungal therapy for fungal infections. Early diagnosis and treatment with antifungal therapy are vital if a patient is to survive an IFI. Substantial advancements have been made with regard to both the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of an IFI. In parallel, stark changes in the epidemiological profile of these IFIs have similarly occurred, often in direct response the type of antifungal agent being administered. The effects of an IFI can be far reaching, ranging from increased morbidity and mortality to increased length hospital stays and economic burden.

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