In a first-of-its-kind case, a 61-year-old plant mycologist in Kolkata has been diagnosed with an infection caused by Chondrostereum Purpureum, a deadly plant fungus, according to a study published in Science Direct. The patient had been working closely with plants, mushrooms, and fungi for research purposes. The man complained of hoarseness, coughing, fatigue, anorexia, and difficulties swallowing for three months before seeking medical treatment. Doctors at Apollo Multispecialty Hospitals in Kolkata initially failed to diagnose his condition, but a CT scan revealed a paratracheal abscess on his neck. Pus samples later revealed that he had been infected with Chondrostereum Purpureum.
The study emphasizes the potential of environmental plant fungi to cause disease in humans and underscores the importance of molecular techniques to identify the causative fungal species. Although the man has made a full recovery, the researchers have cautioned that such fungi may potentially infect healthy and immunocompromised individuals in the future. They added that fungal species that can grow at 35-37°C could become human pathogens or commensal flora and can cause infection mostly in immunocompromised individuals, entering the body through damaged skin and the respiratory tract.