ISHAM working Group on Clinical Fusarium and Fusariosis

Objective:
To be an ISHAM working group on Fusarium species causing human and animal infections, a network where clinicians, veterinarians, (medical) mycologists, molecular biologists, taxonomists and anyone else interested in Fusarium spp. can exchange knowledge. The Working on Clinical Fusarium will work under the umbrella of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM) and in cooperation with the European Confederation of Medical Mycology (ECMM). Participation in the Network is open to everybody with an interest in Fusarium spp. and close relatives.

Fusarium infections:
Infections caused by Fusarium species can be classified in four classes: 1) Superficial infections of skin and nails; 2) Keratitis of the cornea, and 3) Deep mycoses and 4) Disseminated infections. Whereas the first two types of these opportunistic infections are generally seen in immunocompetent hosts, the deeper mycoses are mostly restricted to immunocompromised patients. Over the past three decades, clinical data suggest that the numbers of all types of infections caused by Fusarium species may be increasing. Most Fusarium species prove to be very resistant to the currently used antifungal drugs, although amphotericin B, posaconazole, and voriconazole show good activity against this genus. However, strains resistant to these compounds are regularly encountered, and combination therapy is frequently required.

 

Fusarium species:
The prototype of Fusarium is a well recognizable fungus with clear banana-shaped macroconidia of variable sizes, the presence or absence of smaller microconidia of variable shape, and the presence or absence of chlamydospores. Some clinically relevant species may produce pigments (e.g., yellow-orange, red or violet) that are exuded into the medium. Fusarium comprises a complex cluster of different species and many species complexes, which can best be distinguished with the aid of DNA sequence data. Precise identification of species/multilocus haplotypes is important for diagnosis, treatment, and epidemiological purposes.  Though roughly two-thirds of infections are caused by members of the Fusarium solani species complex, species within seven other species complexes have been reported to cause mycoses. 

The aim of the working group:
Our aim is to study Fusarium infections both from the side of the infected host as well as from the pathogen side, to exchange knowledge and to provide tools and aids for rapid identification and treatment.

The working groups aims to start with a website hosted by the CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre and a mailing list. In conjunction with the major medical mycological conferences symposia about clinical Fusarium will be held. In future special clinical Fusarium  workshops could be held, as well as special issues regarding this topic in international refereed journals could be an option.