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Kolkata man becomes World’s first to catch fungal infection from plant, says report

Mangalore Today News Network / News18

Kolkata, Apr 01, 2023: A 61-year-old plant mycologist from Kolkata has become the first person in the world to be diagnosed with a plant fungal disease.

The man is said to be infected with Chondrostereum purpureum, the fungus that causes silver leaf disease in plants.



The case shows how plant infections can spread to humans after close contact with the fungi in the plants.

A report by the Medical Mycology Case journal said that the patient went to see a doctor after symptoms like hoarse voice, cough, fatigue and difficulties swallowing persisted for three months, NDTV reported.

According to the study, the patient also had paratracheal abscess in the neck. The paratracheal abscess condition usually causes fever, sore throat, odynophagia, and swelling in the neck down to the hyoid bone.

Testing the pus samples showed a fungal infection in the patient.

His chest X-ray showed no infection, but a CT scan of his neck showed the presence of a right paratracheal abscess.

After two antifungal medications administered for two months, the person recovered, according to Times of India.

“He had no history of diabetes, HIV infection, renal or any chronic disease, immunosuppressive drug intake, or trauma. The patient, a plant mycologist by profession was working with decaying material, mushrooms and various plant fungi for a long time as part of his research activities," the study said.

The researchers, Dr. Soma Dutta and Dr. Ujjwayini Ray of the Consultant Apollo Multispecialty Hospitals, Kolkata, in the report said that the patient suffered from Chondrostereum purpureum, which is a  plant fungus that causes silver leaf disease in plants, particularly those in the rose family.

This is the first instance of a plant fungus causing disease in a human, they highlighted.

The patient’s “recurrent exposure to the decaying material may be the cause of this rare infection. This fungal infection was evident from macroscopic and microscopic morphology, but the nature of infection, potentiality to disseminate, etc. could not be ascertained," they added.

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