#TalkFungi – catch up on the Twitter chat for Fungal Awareness Week

0
Think Fungus: Fungal Awareness Week is an annual event from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; GA, USA), aiming to highlight the importance of recognizing serious fungal diseases for both patients and providers.

In line with this we hosted a Twitter chat (#TalkFungi) on 2 October where we questioned Ilan Schwartz (Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada), Andrej Spec (Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, USA), Rebecca Drummond (Group Leader in Fungal Immunology, University of Birmingham, UK) and Jessie Uehling (Postdoctoral researcher, University of California at Berkley and UC San Francisco, CA, USA) about all things fungi.

The experts dedicated an hour of their time to answering questions and we were also joined by the CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch and several other contributors, hopefully making some noise about fungal infections. We take a look at some of the highlights below:

A neglected burden?

Many of our panelists highlighted the burden of fungal diseases, how many infections fungi cause globally and the concern this raises. They also highlighted that fungal disease are often overlooked, and posed some suggestions as to why this could be the case.

Candida auris – an emerging threat?

Candida auris was one topic that was highlighted a lot during the hour as an emerging threat, particularly in healthcare settings. The panel not only highlighted the issues surrounding this fungi but also offered some stark warnings.

Insects, animals and agriculture

Insects and animals were highlighted in the chat as the experts drew attention to many of the fungal diseases that can also affect other creatures – in some cases perhaps even leading to extinctions. Moving from animals to plants, we also discussed the use of antifungals in agriculture and how important responsible use is for preventing antifungal drug resistance.

Dispelling myths

The panel also took the opportunity to dispel some commonly held beliefs about fungal infections – from sugar consumption to contagion.

Future research

We also asked what research would be necessary in the future to better understand fungal infections, the answers ranged from better diagnostics and therapies to vaccine development.

Accelerating awareness

Finally, the need for awareness of fungal diseases was highlighted. Both for practitioners to ‘think fungus’ on diagnosis, but also more broadly in terms of reducing burden in vulnerable populations and in ensuring funding for research.

Thank you again to our panelists for giving up their time to advocate for fungal diseases – we had some fantastic, varied perspectives highlighting the ubiquity of fungi and some of the challenges in the field. Hopefully #TalkFungi has been one step in raising much-needed awareness and we are hopeful for more action, funding and research for these diseases in the future.

Share:

Leave A Comment