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Types of Fungal Diseases

Fungi are everywhere. There are approximately 1.5 million different species of fungi on Earth, but only about 300 of those are known to make people sick.1,2 Fungal diseases are often caused by fungi that are common in the environment. Fungi live outdoors in soil and on plants and trees as well as on many indoor surfaces and on human skin. Most fungi are not dangerous, but some types can be harmful to health.


Microscopy of Aspergillus Fumigatus Caused by the fungus Aspergillus and usually occurs in people with lung diseases or weakened immune systems.


Photomicrograph of the fungus Candida albicansCaused by the yeast Candida. Candidiasis can occur in the mouth and throat, vagina, or the bloodstream.

C. neoformans infection

A photomicrograph of Cryptococcus neoformans using a light India ink staining preparation.

Caused by Cryptococcus neoformans, which can infect the brain (meningitis) in people with HIV/AIDS.

Fungal eye infections

Photomicrograph showing conidiophores and conidia of the fungus Fusarium verticillioidesDifferent types of fungi can cause eye infections. These are rare but can develop after an eye injury.


Microscopy of Apophysomyces, one of the causative agents of mucormycosis.

A rare infection that mainly affects people with weakened immune systems.


Photomicrograph of the dermatophyte Trichophyton mentagrophytesA common fungal skin infection that often looks like a circular rash.

Other pathogenic fungi

Photomicrograph of Exserohilum rostratumExserohilum and Cladosporium are two examples of environmental molds. 


Histopathology showing a yeast cell of Blastomyces dermatitidisCaused by the fungus Blastomyces, which lives in moist soil in parts of the United States and Canada.

Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever)

Arthroconidia of Coccidioides immitis

Caused by Coccidioides, a fungus that lives in the southwestern United States and parts of Mexico and Central and South America.

C. gattii infection

A photomicrograph of Cryptococcus

Caused by the fungus Cryptococcus gattii, which lives in soil in tropical and sub-tropical areas, the United States Pacific Northwest, and British Columbia.


A photomicrograph of Histoplasma capsulatum isolated from a soil sample.Caused by the fungus Histoplasma, which lives in the environment, often in association with large amounts of bird or bat droppings.

Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP)

Histopathology showing Pneumocystis cysts in the lung of a patient with AIDSCaused by the fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii and mainly affects people with weakened immune systems.


A photomicrograph showing the conidiophores and conidia of the fungus Sporothrix schenckii.Caused by the fungus Sporothrix, which lives throughout the world in soil and on plants.