Mycotic Diseases Branch
CDC’s lead group for preventing illness and death from fungal diseases in the United States and throughout the world.
The goal of CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch (MDB) is to prevent illness and death from fungal diseases. We are one of the 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 by using epidemiology and microbiology research. We also investigate outbreaks and develop interventions to prevent fungal diseases.
- Increasing number of people with weakened immune systems. Opportunistic infections such as cryptococcosis and aspergillosis affect cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, and people with HIV/AIDS.
- Advancements and changes in healthcare practices. Healthcare-associated infections such as candidemia are a major concern in the United States. Advancements and changes in healthcare practices can allow new and drug-resistant fungi to emerge in healthcare settings.
- Changes in the environment. Fungi that live in soil or other parts of the natural environment cause diseases such as coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever) and histoplasmosis. Weather and climate changes may be affecting these types of fungi.
Mycotic Disease Branch Teams
Our epidemiology and laboratory 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
- Determine 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
Our laboratory staff:
- Find and identify disease-causing fungi in patient and environmental specimens (please see our specimen submission information webpage 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 laboratories improve their abilities to test for certain fungi
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.
Many people at risk for and suffering from fungal diseases live in for low-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 for low-resource settings: