Climate Health Medical

Indian man infected with first ever case of killer plant fungus


HQ Team

April 1, 2023: An Indian male from Kolkata city, is believed to be the first case of human infection of a plant fungus.

Doctors from the Apollo Multispeciality Hospitals in Kolkata, describing the case in the journal Medical Mycology Case Reports, said the 61-year-old man visited the outpatient department complaining of hoarseness of voice, cough, recurrent pharyngitis, fatigue, difficulty in swallowing and anorexia.

The patient had no previous chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease or blood pressure. He worked as a plant mycologist and handled mushrooms and various plant fungi for his research activities, doctors said.

While his chest X-ray showed a normal result, a CT scan of his neck showed the presence of a right paratracheal abscess. Paratracheal abscesses can block airways and lead to life-threatening infections.

Surgical drainage was done and the patient was put on oral medicines for two months, After two years of follow-up, he was “absolutely fine and there is no evidence of recurrence”, doctors said in their report.

Plant fungus Chondrostereum purpureum

Doctors diagnosed the man with Chondrostereum purpureum, a plant fungus causing silver leaf disease of plants, particularly of the rose family. Silver leaf disease is progressive and often fatal, doctors said in the report. Fungi also tend to only impact people who are immunocompromised.

Until this case, there has been no evidence that humans could be infected by this particular fungus. There are millions of fungi occurring in nature, just a few hundred can affect humans and animals as well as plants.

Global warming and environmental disruptions

“Over the past several decades multiple new pathogenic fungi have emerged,” researchers wrote in the study. “The worsening of global warming and other civilization activities opens Pandora’s Box for newer fungal diseases.”

“That animal and human diseases can be caused by plant pathogens is a new concept that raises serious questions regarding the propensity of such infection to occur in healthy as well as immunocompromised individuals,” the doctors added.


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