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There is fungus among us

When many of us think of fungus, the mushroom comes to mind. But the mushroom is just one of many fungi in the world.

For the first time ever, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a list of health-threatening fungi. This list contains the 19 fungi that represent the greatest threat to public health. You can download the report here.

The list of fungal "priority pathogens" is a first in the attempt to prioritize fungal pathogens. WHO says there is a serious lack of information related to fungal pathogens which are increasingly common and resistant to treatment.

According to WHO, those at greatest risk for invasive fungal infections include people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, chronic respiratory disease, and post-primary tuberculosis infections. “Emerging from the shadows of the bacterial antimicrobial resistance pandemic, fungal infections are growing, and are ever more resistant to treatments, becoming a public health concern worldwide,” said Dr. Hanan Balkhy, WHO Assistant Director-General, Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

In an article released by WHO, even though there is growing concern about fungal infections, they receive little attention and resources. What that means is there is "very little quality data on fungal disease distribution and antifungal resistance patterns. As a result, the exact burden of fungal diseases and antifungal resistance is unknown, and the response is therefore undermined."

Three categories

The WHO fungal priority pathogens list (WHO FPPL) is the first global effort to systematically prioritize fungal pathogens, considering their unmet research and development (R&D) needs and perceived public health importance.

The WHO FPPL aims to focus and drive further research and policy interventions to strengthen the global response to fungal infections and antifungal resistance.

The WHO FPPL list is divided into three categories:

  • Critical priority

  • High priority

  • Medium priority

"The fungal pathogens in each priority category are so ranked primarily due to their public health impact and/or emerging antifungal resistance risk. While recognizing these critical pathogens as of public health concern globally, WHO emphasizes that the FPPL must be interpreted and contextualized carefully, as some endemic pathogens could be of more concern in their respective regional or local contexts," according to the report.

The article stated, "The report presents these categories and proposes actions and strategies for policymakers, public health professionals and other stakeholders; targeted at improving the overall response to these priority fungal pathogens including preventing the development of antimicrobial resistance. Three primary areas for action are proposed, focusing on: (1) strengthening laboratory capacity and surveillance; (2) sustainable investments in research, development, and innovation; and (3) public health interventions." The WHO report said, "The authors of the report stress the need for more evidence to inform the response to this growing threat and to better understand the burden – both of disease and antifungal resistance. The report also highlights the urgent need for coordinated action to address the impact of antifungal use on resistance across the One Health spectrum and calls for expanding equitable access to quality diagnostics and treatments.

“We need more data and evidence on fungal infections and antifungal resistance to inform and improve response to these priority fungal pathogens,” said Dr. Haileyesus Getahun, WHO Director, AMR Global Coordination Department. The primary recommended actions are focused on: (1) strengthening laboratory capacity and surveillance; (2) sustaining investments in research, development, and innovation; and (3) enhancing public health interventions for prevention and control. “Countries are encouraged to follow a stepwise approach, starting with strengthening their fungal disease laboratory and surveillance capacities, and ensuring equitable access to existing quality therapeutics and diagnostics, globally,” added Dr. Haileyesus Getahun.

How can help has the tools you need to fight against dangerous fungi.

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Mold is a type of fungus because it is a microorganism that grows in moist environments. Mold reproduces by releasing spores into the air, which can then settle on surfaces and begin to grow.

Vital Oxide can help remove mold and prevent its return. Along with BioProtect as part of the two-step process, it can kill mold and protect against it for 90 days!

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If you want to keep yourself, your family, and your property safer, contact one of our agents near you. They will be happy to assist you.

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