Fungal-based infections have risen in prominence in the last 30 years. With that rise, there have been infections found that are out of the ordinary. These infections are known as pseudofungal infections. They’re called ‘pseudo’ as they come from algae rather than traditional fungi.
This particular pseudofungal infection has only occurred in 108 cases in the past 25 years. It’s caused by the algae Chlorella and is generally caused by exposing open wounds to the algae in the water. It causes an infection that gets into the tissue and can even travel to the lymph nodes or other deep organs. It can be easy to diagnose as it stains the tissue green.
This pseudofungal infection is rare to contract. It’s an infection that grows from the Prototheca genus of algae. It is like chlorellosis. It generally occurs when an open wound has contact with water that contains the Prototheca algi. Once infected it colonizes our skin, fingernails, digestive system and respiratory tract. This infection can lead to meningitis and also respiratory and urinary tract complications.
The oomycete Pythium insidiosum that causes pythiosis is close in makeup to filamentous fungi but is more like algae or diatoms. That’s what makes it one of the pseudofungal infections. General symptoms of this include chronic swelling and painful lumps in the lower extremities. It can also cause fever and cellulitis. It’s known to thrive in tropical climates. It’s a common secondary infection in people that suffer from blood infections.
This disease is born from the Rhinosporidiumseeberi organism. It generally infects the nasal cavity and begins with swollen polyps. From there it spreads to the eye socket. It can also spread to other cranial cavities. The infection can affect those swimming in a stagnant lake or pond water.
They’re named pseudofungal infections due to the ongoing debate over the differences between algae and fungi. It’s important to note that these infections are most common in animals. While it is rare for them to occur in humans, it is still possible.