50 mn Indians at the risk of being affected by serious fungal diseases, says study

Researchers from India and Manchester have come up with findings that, of the 50 million, 10% could be afflicted by potentially dangerous fungal infections.

What we are about to tell you is something serious and calls for immediate action from the part of the authorities. It has been found by researchers that more than 50 million Indians are at the risk of being affected by serious fungal diseases.

Studies done by researchers from India and Manchester have come across information that, of the 50 million potentially affected, 10 percent could be afflicted by potentially dangerous mold infections. The research findings have been published in the Open Forum Infectious Diseases journal.

Researchers from three Indian medical colleges, namely AIIMS, New Delhi, AIIMS Kalyani, West Bengal and PGIMER, Chandigarh, joined hands with the University of Manchester for the study.

4.4% of total population at fungal infection risk

They have estimated that 57 million people, who form 4.4 percent of the total population of 1.3 billion are likely to be affected. Among the affected could be around 24 million women of reproductive age, and their cause of worry would be vaginal thrush, explained as yeast infection. Chances are that they could be victims of repeated attacks too, the findings said.

In school children the bane is hair fungal infection, called tinea capitis, and the infection would affect close to 24 million. Kids affected would be subject to painful infected scalp and hair loss.

A report that elaborated on these finds also stated that mold infections that affect the lungs and sinuses and hitting over 250,000 people, could be cause of deaths too. Serious allergic lung mold diseases that could affect as many 3.5 million, and chronic aspergillosis that could pose issues to 1,738,400 people have also been pointed out.

Fungal disease a serious threat

Besides these, more than a million people are potentially at risk of contracting a blinding fungal eye disease. Meanwhile, around 200,000 people are at the risk of contracting had mucormycosis.

The report quoted AIIMS Delhi’s Dr. Animesh Ray, who is also the lead author of the article, saying that the total burden owing to fungal diseases is actually huge but underappreciated. He added that tuberculosis affects less than 3 million people a year in India, but looking at the risk that the fungal diseases pose, it needs to be seen as many times higher.

Though the public health scenario has improved a lot in the country, the fungal disease threat remains and could be a cause of morbidity and mortality.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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