Professor David Denning, one of the country’s leading experts on fungal infection has spoken today of the growing burden in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania.

He and his team estimate that more that 275,000 people are affected across the six countries. The work was presented at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Washington – a four-day conference to showcase the latest breaking science and lectures from the best researchers in the world.

Professor David Denning

Professor David Denning

It’s the first time the extent of the problem has been calculated and adds to the growing catalogue being developed by Professor Denning and his team to map the burden of fungal infection worldwide.

Earlier, Dr Denning, who is Professor of Infectious Disease in Global Health at the University of Manchester, spoke at the US Government’s Centres for Disease Control in Atlanta to alert fellow scientists that the death toll from fungal diseases worldwide now claims 150 deaths an hour.

Dr Denning’s six country findings are now published and are highlighted here:

The rate of candidaemia in Saudi Arabia is amongst the highest in the world at 10/100,000 which contrasts with low rates in Argentina (1.1/100,000) and Australia (1.87/100,000). Large numbers of cases of cryptococcosis and histoplasmosis in AIDS are seen in Mexico (4,906-35,049 and 6,484-22,256 respectively). The estimate for Tanzania which has an estimated 1.5 million HIV infected people and 90,057 with CD4 counts under 200, is estimated to have only 2,672 cases of cryptococcal meningitis based on cryptococcal antigen screening survey. This may be an underestimate as there are 80,000 AIDS deaths a year in Tanzania. In contrast there were 10 cases in Belgium and 101 in Australia, 10% C. gattii infections.

Tinea capitis could be estimated in Tanzania (420,000 school age children). All infectious keratitis and fungal keratitis cases in Mexico were 166,258 and 11,638 respectively, leaving about 7,000 patients blind in one eye.

Coccidioidomycosis cases were estimated to be 8,552 in Mexico, based on US endemic area rates and 856 in Argentina.

Rates of ABPA were calculated at 2.5% of the adult clinical asthma rate in that country or a neighbouring country (To et al, 2012). The variation is nearly 10-fold, and the very high rates in Australia and Belgium are remarkable. The only study of ABPA to be conducted in Africa was in South Africa (2.5% rate), and none have been conducted in central or South America.


Country Population (millions) Estimated number of people affected Estimated rate of ABPA/100,000
Argentina 40.8 48,154 116
Australia 23.6 57,500 245
Belgium 11.1 23,119 208
Mexico 112.3 67,401 27
Saudi Arabia 30.0 59,466 212
Tanzania 43 18,987 44

For more information please contact Susan Osborne, Director of Communications, The Goodwork Organisation, on 07836 229208.