Fungal diseases are called mycoses and those affecting humans can be divided into four groups based on the level of penetration into the body tissues. (view – How Common are Fungal Diseases)

See a detailed listing of all fungal infections at our FIT LIFE website

Fungal Disease Summaries

  • Superficial mycoses are caused by fungi that grow on the surface of the skin or hair.
  • Cutaneous mycoses or dermatomycoses include such infections as athlete’s foot and ringworm, where growth occurs only in the superficial layers of skin, nails, or hair.
  • Subcutaneous mycoses penetrate below the skin to involve the subcutaneous, connective, and bone tissue.
  • Systemic or deep mycoses are able to infect internal organs and become widely disseminated throughout the body. This type is often fatal.


 Commoner fungal diseases (Complete listing at LIFE-Worldwide)

Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis (CPA)
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA)
Severe Asthma with Fungal Sensitisation (SAFS)
Aspergillus sinusitis
Invasive aspergillosis
Candida Infections
Fungal nail infections (onychomycosis)
Vaginal candidiasis (Vaginal thrush)
Penile candidiasis (Penile thrush)
Oral candidiasis (Oral thrush)
Chronic Mucocutaneous Candidiasis (CMC)
Deep candida infections
Penicillium marneffei
Histoplasma capsulatum
Chronic and acute histoplasmosis
Disseminated histoplasmosis
Cryptococcal infection
Cryptococcal meningitis
Cryptococcal pneumonia
Mucormycosis (zygomycosis)
Candida germ tubes

Candida germ tubes

Histoplasmosis (from Dr Ajello)

Histoplasmosis (from Dr Ajello)

How Common are Fungal diseases? (link). Also see extensive data on fungal infection prevalence and burden at

Fungal infection Number affected Case fatality rate Estimated deaths Comments
Cryptococcal meningitis 370,000 in AIDS 15-20% USA
>50% developing world
250,000 in AIDS CDC estimate
Pneumocystis pneumonia >400,000 in AIDS
>100,000 in non-AIDS
~15% in AIDS with best treatment
~50% in non-AIDS
>200,000 in AIDS
>50,000 non-AIDS
Most cases in Africa not diagnosed and 100% mortality
Disseminated Histoplasmosis ~100,000 15-30%, if diagnosed and treated >80,000 Most common in the Americas
Invasive aspergillosis >300,000 ~30% mortality if treated in HIC -in AIDS
~50% non-AIDS, in HIC
>30,000 in AIDS
>125,000 in non-AIDS
Many missed diagnoses globally
Invasive candidiasis >750,000 ~40% mortality treated >350,000
Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis >3,000,000 ~15-40% mortality in HIC
~15% mortality in the developed world
>450,000 in non hospitalised populations Under-diagnosed and mistaken for tuberculosis
Severe asthma with fungal sensitisation (SAFS) >6,500,000 <1% but no good figures. 350,000 – 489,000 asthma deaths
~50% related to SAFS
Total ~13,000,000   1,600,000 Probably a significant underestimate

Treating and caring for patients with fungal diseases is becoming an increasing economic burden. Estimated numbers of patients who will need expensive antifungal drugs for some of the life-threatening fungal illnesses are summarised here.

Candidaemia infections occur can be predicted at around 300,000 worldwide per year – with a mortality of 30-55%.

Invasive aspergillosis can occur in different patients groups- so around 10% of new leukaemic cases will go on to develop invasive aspergillosis – so 30,000 per year. Of stem cell transplants – 54,000 are carried out in USA, UK, Europe and Japan annually, of which 5,400 will need treatment for aspergillus infection.

In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease -1.2% of these will need antifungals for aspergillosis- 216,000 per year. Over 50% of invasive aspergillosis patients will die from their infection – even with treatment.

In AIDS patients 1million contract cryptococcal meningitis resulting in 600,000 deaths – 70% of which are in sub-saharan Africa.

Less fatal infections but which affect large numbers of people worldwide include cutaneous fungal infections, nail infections and athletes foot – affects some 1.5 billion people – or 25% of the worlds population.

Tinea capitis -or hair infection- which is common in young children is predicted to affect some 200 million worldwide.