The weapon potential of human pathogenic fungi

Arturo Casadevall, Liise-anne Pirofski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

With the exception of Coccidioides spp., human pathogenic fungi are not found among lists of microbes with potential for biological warfare and bioterrorism against humans. However, many human pathogenic fungi are easily obtainable from the environment, are highly dispersible and can cause significant disease after inhalation with relatively low inocula. When the biological and pathogenic attributes of certain human pathogenic fungi are considered using a formula for calculating the relative weapon potential of a microbe it is as apparent that some organisms such as Coccidioides spp. are comparable to other microbes for which there is significant concern. Our analysis suggests that the current indifference to fungi as potential biological weapons against human populations is probably a perception engendered by their non-communicability, lack of history of use or development as biological weapons, and a relatively low incidence of symptomatic disease following natural infection. Awareness of the weapon potential of human pathogenic fungi is an important consideration for greater preparedness against the threat posed by biowarfare and bioterrorism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-696
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Mycology
Volume44
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

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animal pathogenic fungi
Weapons
Fungi
Coccidioides
bioterrorism
microorganisms
Biological Warfare Agents
Bioterrorism
Biological Warfare
human population
disease incidence
breathing
inoculum
Inhalation
fungi
organisms
infection

Keywords

  • Biological weapons
  • Biowarfare and bioterrorism
  • Human pathogenic fungi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • veterinary(all)
  • Microbiology

Cite this

The weapon potential of human pathogenic fungi. / Casadevall, Arturo; Pirofski, Liise-anne.

In: Medical Mycology, Vol. 44, No. 8, 12.2006, p. 689-696.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Casadevall, Arturo ; Pirofski, Liise-anne. / The weapon potential of human pathogenic fungi. In: Medical Mycology. 2006 ; Vol. 44, No. 8. pp. 689-696.
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