This Article is From Mar 31, 2023

Kolkata Man Infected By Killer Plant Fungus In World's First Case

The patient, a professional plant mycologist, had spent a considerable amount of time working with decaying material, mushrooms, and various plant fungi.

Kolkata Man Infected By Killer Plant Fungus In World's First Case

The patient's CT scan revealed that a right paratracheal abscess existed.

The first person to be diagnosed with a fungal disease that typically affects plants is a plant mycologist in Kolkata. This, according to the researchers, shows how plant infections can spread to humans when in close contact with plant fungi.

The doctors who are following this case study wrote in a report that was published in the journal Medical Mycology Case Reports that the unnamed infected person is a 61-year-old man, and he went to a hospital in Kolkata after suffering from a hoarse voice, cough, fatigue, and difficulties swallowing for three months.

They explained: "The patient was also facing difficulty swallowing and anorexia for the last three months."

"He had no history of diabetes, HIV infection, renal disease, any chronic disease, immunosuppressive drug intake, or trauma. The patient, a plant mycologist by profession, had been working with decaying material, mushrooms, and various plant fungi for a long time as part of his research activities."


Sabouraud dextrose agar showed the growth of a creamy, pasty colony with buff-coloured pigmentation on the reverse side after 4-5 days.

The researchers, Dr. Soma Dutta and Dr. Ujjwayini Ray of the Consultant Apollo Multispecialty Hospitals, Kolkata, further explained in the report that "Chondrostereum purpureum is a plant fungus that causes silver leaf disease in plants, particularly those in the rose family. This is the first instance of a plant fungus causing disease in a human. Conventional techniques (microscopy and culture) failed to identify the fungus."

"Only through sequencing could the identity of this unusual pathogen be revealed. This case highlights the potential of environmental plant fungi to cause disease in humans and stresses the importance of molecular techniques to identify the causative fungal species."

"Recurrent exposure to the decaying material may be the cause of this rare infection."

"This fungal infection was evident from macroscopic and microscopic morphology, but the nature of infection, potentiality to disseminate, etc. could not be ascertained."

The man's neck abscess was detected and surgically treated to drain it, according to the doctors. Following this, the x-ray revealed nothing abnormal, and the patient received a course of antifungal medication.

"After two years of follow-up, the patient was absolutely fine, and there is no evidence of recurrence," the researchers wrote.