Business News/ Science / Health/  Kolkata man becomes world's first to be diagnosed with deadly plant fungus

A 61-year-old plant mycologist in Kolkata is the first person to be diagnosed with a fungal disease, that usually affects plants. The man went to a hospital in Kolkata after suffering from a hoarse voice, cough, fatigue, and difficulties swallowing for three months.

The research Medical Mycology Case Reports published on Science Direct reveals that silver leaf is a fungal disease of trees caused by the fungal plant pathogen Chondrostereum purpureum which typically affects members of the Rose family.

The patient was working with decaying material, mushrooms, and various plant fungi for a long time as part of his research activities. After several tests, the fungus could not be identified phenotypically, so it was sent to the “WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference & Research on Fungi of Medical importance" in India which identified it as Chondrostereum purpureum by DNA sequencing.

“The patient denied having worked with such a plant pathogen but he confirmed that he was working with decaying material and other plant fungi for a long time as part of his research activities," the research said.

He had no history of diabetes, HIV infection, renal or any chronic disease, immunosuppressive drug intake, or trauma.

The patient was treated for around two years and according to the research currently is healthy, without any signs of recurrence.

“Among the millions of fungi present in the environment only a few hundreds of fungi are able to infect humans and animals. 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 research said.

The pathogen enters the human body through damaged skin and the respiratory tract and can cause infection mostly in immunocompromised individuals, the research added.


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Updated: 31 Mar 2023, 10:37 PM IST
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