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Systemic Fungal Infections on the Rise

Systemic Fungal Infections on the Rise

Caspofungin (Cancidas) is being developed by Merck as an intravenous medicine for systemic fungal infections, such as those caused by Aspergillus and Candida, Merck said in a press release. These infections, once considered unusual, have risen in number over the past 20 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Candida species are the most common organisms found in immunocompromised patients. Infections due to Candida are responsible for approximately 80% of all major systemic fungal infections.

Aspergillus, a fungus found in compost heaps, dead leaves, and dust, is the second most common fungal infection after Candida. The most invasive infection with Aspergillus occurs in the lung and can spread to other parts of the body and affect the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes.

Aspergillus is responsible for up to 30% of all fungal infections in cancer patients. The mortality associated with invasive aspergillosis is extremely high, approximately 60% to 90% in the most severely immuno-compromised patients, despite treatment with antifungal agents.

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