Fusarium

Shmuel Shoham, M.D.
Fusarium is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins ABX Guide.

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MICROBIOLOGY

  • Filamentous fungi ubiquitous in environment.
    • Fusarium species most often found in association with soil and vegetation, especially around roots.
    • Contamination of hospital water systems reported as a potential risk in some immunocompromised patients.
    • Contamination/infection of wheat, corn and other foodstuffs is a major agricultural challenge causing damage to crops and toxin-mediated disease in humans and animals.
  • There are hundreds of species within the Fusarium genus, approximately 70 of which have been associated with human and animal infection. Clinically important species are grouped as complexes, each of which is composed of many species.
    • Species with potential to cause invasive infections:
      • Fusarium solani complex: ~50% of cases.
      • F. oxysporum complex: ~20% of cases.
      • F. fujikuroi complex: ~10% of cases and includes the species:
        • F. verticillioides (formerly F. moniliforme): associated with rotting corn and can cause invasive human infections.
      • Other complexes:
        • F. incarnatum-exquisite 
        • F. dimerum 
        • F. chlamydosporum  
    • Multiple Fusarium species have the potential to cause toxin-mediated disease in humans and animals due to poisoning from mycotoxins such as fumonisins and trichothecenes that contaminate agricultural products like wheat, corn and other cereals (e.g. F. sporotrichioides, F. avenaceum, F. graminearum, F. culmorum, F. poae, F. verticillioides).

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Last updated: November 8, 2019