In a shocking incident, a man has become the world’s first victim of a deadly fungal infection caused by plants. This 61-year-old man, a Kolkata resident, has demonstrated evidence of a crossover of plant pathogens into humans when working in close contact with plant fungi.
According to media reports, the man is a plant mycologist and he visited the outpatient department of Consultant Apollo Multispeciality Hospital in Kolkata with complaints of cough, hoarseness of voice, recurrent pharyngitis, fatigue, difficulty in swallowing, sore throat, and anorexia for three months. According to the doctors, the man had no history of HIV infection, renal disease, or any chronic disease. He was also neither consuming any immunosuppressive drug nor suffering from any trauma.
The doctors conducted a chest X-ray which came back ‘normal’. However, a CT scan of his neck showed a paratracheal abscess in his neck. The doctors drained the pus a sent a sample for testing to the “WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference & Research on Fungi of Medical Importance”, where he was diagnosed with Chondrostereum purpureum.
According to experts, Chondrostereum purpureum is a fungus plant pathogen. It is commonly known as “violet fungus” and can cause infections in humans. The report also revealed that the identity of this unusual can only be revealed through sequencing.
“This case highlights the potential of environmental plant fungi to cause disease in humans and stresses the importance of molecular techniques to identify the causative fungal species,” it said.
The study also pointed out that the patient received a course of antifungal medication, and after two years of follow-up, the patient was absolutely fine, and there is no evidence of recurrence.