The classification of fungi can be quite confusing, especially when toxonomic debates continue among mycologists. For example, the recent reclassification of Pneumocystis carinii as a fungus has caused considerable stir. It is most important to recognize that fungi can be categorized as either yeasts or molds. Yeasts are typically round in shape and reproduce by budding, whereas molds are typically composed of tubular structures called hyphae and grow by extension. Many human pathogens are dimorphic fungi, so called because they are yeasts or yeastlike in the human body, but grow as molds outside the body. Table 1 lists the major fungal pathogens.
Candida organisms are yeasts, and several species cause human disease. Candida albicans accounts for the majority of human disease, and is responsible for mucocuta-neous disease (thrush, vaginitis), as well as invasive disease. However, other Candida species are being recognized as important pathogens. Candida tropicalis is responsible for up to one fourth of systemic candidiasis and may be more virulent than C. albicans in immunocompromised patients. Candida krusei and Candida glabrata (formerly
From: Management of Antimicrobials in Infectious Diseases Edited by: A. G. Mainous III and C. Pomeroy © Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ
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The term vaginitis is one that is applied to any inflammation or infection of the vagina, and there are many different conditions that are categorized together under this ‘broad’ heading, including bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis and non-infectious vaginitis.