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Clin Microbiol Rev. Oct 1994; 7(4): 479–504.
PMCID: PMC358338

Taxonomy, biology, and clinical aspects of Fusarium species.


There are several taxonomic systems available for identifying Fusarium species. The philosophy used in each taxonomic system is discussed as well as problems encountered in working with Fusarium species in culture. Fusarium species are toxigenic, and the mycotoxins produced by these organisms are often associated with animal and human diseases. The implications for the association of the carcinogens, fumonisins, produced by Fusarium moniliforme and other Fusarium species with human diseases are discussed. Foreign-body-associated fusarial infection such as keratitis in contact lens wearers, onychomycosis, skin infections, and disseminated multiorgan infections are discussed. Disseminated fusarial hyalohyphomycosis has emerged as a significant, usually fatal infection in the immunocompromised host. Successful outcome is determined by the degree of immunosuppression, the extent of the infection, and the presence of a removable focus such as an indwelling central venous catheter. These infections may be clinically suspected on the basis of a constellation of clinical and laboratory findings, which should lead to prompt therapy, probably with one of the newer antifungal agents. Perhaps the use of such agents or the use of colony-stimulating factors may improve the outcome of this devastating infection. However, until new approaches for treatment develop, effective preventive measures are urgently needed.

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