Sangati Jogwar

News Highlights

  • A killer plant fungus reportedly affected a 61-year-old mycologist from Kolktata causing serious symptoms.
  • Doctors have warned that more such fungal, viral, and bacterial infections may come in years to come.

A few days ago, news about a Kolkata man getting affected by plant fungi shocked everyone as it was the very first time that plant fungi had infected a human. It was the first ever pathogen to human cross-over in the world about which scientists or medical experts did not have any inkling.

Hence, it took a lot of time for the health experts to finally narrow down the actual reason for the infection in the neck of a 61-year-old plant mycologist from Kolkata. The details are slowly coming out and as scientists are delving deeper into it, the future scenario seems to be quite dreadful.

How did it all start?

The patient was suffering from some unusual symptoms like recurrent pharyngitis, cough, hoarseness of voice, anorexia, and difficulty swallowing for three months. Despite having no history of HIV, diabetes, or any chronic or renal disease, his symptoms continued to increase day by day even after proper medication and care. The scientist at that time was working with decaying mushrooms, decaying material, and plant varieties of fungi on different plants.

Multiple tests and final diagnosis

The patient was asked to do a chest X-ray but it was normal. However, a CT scan of his neck showed that there was a paratracheal abscess on the right side of his neck. After draining the pus, the doctors sent it for further testing. Even after multiple tests, the pathologists were unable to identify the fungus phenotypically.

That is why then it was further sent to WHO Centre for Reference & Research on Fungi of Medical importance in the country. Here the pathogen was identified through DNA sequencing as Chondrostereum purpureum.

The disease is progressive and fatal

This particular plant fungus affects the tress and causes silver leaf disease, especially in the species belonging to the Rose family. Scientists say the disease progresses rapidly and can be fatal in rare cases. As to why such new pathogens and viruses are affecting humanity more now, the doctors said that several factors like international travel and commerce, changes in the ecosystem, global warming, and unplanned urbanization are causing such cross-overs.

In the future, humanity might be forced to face newer fungal as well as various zoonotic bacterial and viral diseases that can be very dangerous.