What causes fungal pneumonia?

Updated: Jun 21, 2019
  • Author: Romeo A Mandanas, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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Fungal pneumonia is an infectious process in the lungs caused by one or more endemic or opportunistic fungi. Fungal infection occurs following the inhalation of spores, after the inhalation of conidia, or by the reactivation of a latent infection. Hematogenous dissemination frequently occurs, especially in an immunocompromised host.

Endemic fungal pathogens (eg, Histoplasma capsulatum, Coccidioides immitis, Blastomyces dermatitidis, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Sporothrix schenckii, Cryptococcus neoformans) cause infection in healthy hosts and in immunocompromised persons, in defined geographic locations of the Americas and around the world.

Opportunistic fungal organisms (eg, Candida species, Aspergillus species, Mucor species) tend to cause pneumonia in patients with congenital or acquired defects in the host immune defenses. Hyalohyphomycosis is a broad term that describes infections due to a number of rare and emerging heterogeneous fungi that when isolated from infected lung tissue, appear as hyaline (lightly colored), filamentous fungi difficult to distinguish from Aspergillus. These genera include Scedosporium, Fusarium, Paecilomyces, Acremonium, and Trichoderma and are described in more detail in the article "Rare and Emerging Fungal Pulmonary Infections".

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