Public Awareness Low for Invasive Fungal Diseases

THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2020 — More than two-thirds of individuals have never heard of any of six invasive fungal diseases, according to research published in the Sept. 25 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Kaitlin Benedict, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues conducted a nationally representative online survey to assess whether participants had heard of six invasive fungal diseases to guide public health educational efforts.

The researchers found tlow awareness, which varied by disease, from 4.1 percent for blastomycosis, 5.1 percent for aspergillosis, 7.5 percent for histoplasmosis, 7.6 percent for coccidioidomycosis, 9.0 percent for cryptococcosis, and 24.6 percent for candidiasis. Overall, 68.9 percent of respondents had never heard of any of the diseases. Those who were aware of one fungal disease were more likely to be aware of others. There were associations seen for female sex, higher education, and increased number of prescription medications with awareness.

“These first nationally representative estimates of public fungal disease awareness demonstrate major gaps, indicating a need for continued efforts to strengthen education messages, particularly for groups at higher risk and those with lower educational attainment,” the authors write.

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