CDC at Work: Mycotic Diseases Branch

CDC’s lead group for preventing illness and death from fungal diseases in the United States and throughout the world.

About Us

The goal of CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch (MDB) is to prevent illness and death from fungal diseases. We are one of few public health groups in the world devoted to the prevention and control of fungal diseases. We work with partners to understand who gets fungal infections and why they get them by using epidemiology and microbiology research. We also investigate outbreaks and develop interventions to prevent fungal diseases.

Why fungal diseases are a public health problem: [PDF – 2 pages]:

Learn more about why fungal diseases are a public health problem [PDF – 2 pages].

Mycotic Diseases Branch Teams

Our teams work together, along with domestic and international partners, to combat fungal diseases in the following ways:

  • Generate new information about fungal diseases and disease-causing fungi.
  • Respond quickly to fungal disease outbreaks and other emerging issues.
  • Conduct research.
  • Provide training and education about fungal diseases.

Epidemiology Team

Our epidemiologists:

  • Calculate the number of people who get sick from fungal diseases.
  • Track trends and patterns in how fungal diseases affect people.
  • Promote education and awareness about fungal diseases.
  • Develop and evaluate ways to prevent fungal diseases.
  • Help prepare healthcare facilities and laboratories in other countries to better detect and treat fungal diseases.
A woman reviewing a chart labeled, 'Mold Surveillance System Diagram'

Laboratory Team

Our laboratory staff:

  • Find and identify disease-causing fungi in patient and environmental specimens (laboratories: see specimen submission information for details).
  • Perform tests on certain specimens to see if they are resistant to antifungal medicines.
  • Research and develop new detection, diagnostic, and subtyping methods.
  • Use whole genome sequencing to study how and why certain fungi spread and make people sick.
  • Conduct a yearly mold identification training course in collaboration with the Association of Public Health Laboratories.
  • Help other domestic and international laboratories improve their abilities to test for certain fungi.
A scientist looking at a fungus sample through a microscope.

Data and Quality Team

Our data and quality staff:

  • Comprise a group with diverse professional backgrounds who work at the intersection of laboratory science and epidemiology. Staff includes bioinformaticians, data scientists, laboratorians, and epidemiologists.
  • Track the emergence and spread of fungal diseases by conducting molecular surveillance and genomic epidemiology.
  • Advance the use of genomics and metagenomics for detecting fungal pathogens and antifungal drug resistance.
  • Build data systems that link various data sources and allow for automated, more efficient data analysis and visualization.
  • Develop and implement quality management systems that promote data accuracy, consistent testing, safety, and efficient processes.

Fungal Disease Outbreaks

Fungal disease outbreaks are rare. An outbreak occurs when two or more people get sick from contact with the same source, sometimes in the same time or place. This can happen outdoors or in a health care setting, such as a hospital.

Detecting fungal outbreaks early is important so that the people affected can get the right treatment and so that health officials can prevent others from getting sick.

Learn more about fungal disease outbreaks.

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International Activities

Many people at risk for and suffering from fungal diseases live in limited-resource settings. These areas of the world often lack the laboratory infrastructure needed to diagnose fungal diseases, and limited availability of antifungal medications means that some patients may not have access to lifesaving treatments. CDC is working with partners to improve access to fungal diagnostics and antifungal medications around the globe.

Learn more about some fungal diseases in low-resource settings:

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Publications

Sharing scientific findings is an important part of the prevention and control of fungal diseases. Our branch is involved in producing numerous articles and papers that detail our research findings and investigations and provide reviews on important fungal topics.

Key Publications by Year