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(113,475 posts)
Tue Oct 10, 2023, 08:53 PM Oct 2023

First reported case of plant fungus infecting a human


In what researchers suggest is the first reported case of its kind, a 61-year-old Indian mycologist appears to have contracted a rather serious case of silver leaf disease in his own throat, providing a rare example of a pathogen seemingly making an enormous leap across entire kingdoms in the tree of life.

A case study published in June 2023 describes a male patient in India's eastern region presenting to a medical center with a cough and hoarse voice, fatigue, and difficulty swallowing. A CT X-ray scan of his neck revealed a pus-filled abscess next to his trachea.

Lab tests failed to find any bacteria of concern, but a special staining technique for fungi revealed the presence of long, root-like filaments called hyphae.
22 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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First reported case of plant fungus infecting a human (Original Post) blm Oct 2023 OP
The Last of Us Deep State Witch Oct 2023 #1
Basically, yes Renew Deal Oct 2023 #2
Roughly yea angrychair Oct 2023 #5
Yes, 'reporting' on a 'report' is usually how they cover blm Oct 2023 #9
Pretty much yeah MissB Oct 2023 #10
Great. Solly Mack Oct 2023 #3
Sounds like a real life "Last of Us". Elessar Zappa Oct 2023 #4
Is it contagious from person to person? ecstatic Oct 2023 #6
Cordyceps got an appetite for something bigger? C_U_L8R Oct 2023 #7
Be on the lookout for stalkers, clickers, shamblers, and the rest. sakabatou Oct 2023 #8
Great. Just as mushroom season here begins intrepidity Oct 2023 #11
Oh that just sounds scary! PortTack Oct 2023 #12
A mycologist spends his life studying fungi and most likely breathing in spores Warpy Oct 2023 #13
The guy is alive & well 2 yrs on. From the article irisblue Oct 2023 #14
Wonderful.... that's the last thing we need AntivaxHunters Oct 2023 #15
NIH, June 2023: appalachiablue Oct 2023 #16
Yikes. So this is the 'report'. blm Oct 2023 #17
Serious issue. NIH is my primary US source, WHO and others are impt. too. Tx for posting. appalachiablue Oct 2023 #18
4 months in and we're just hearing of it. blm Oct 2023 #19
Strange, my brief search showed The NY Post, India Times & appalachiablue Oct 2023 #20
Science alert was first article I saw. blm Oct 2023 #21
Just checked again, most links from lare March, early April, some UK appalachiablue Oct 2023 #22


(9,092 posts)
5. Roughly yea
Tue Oct 10, 2023, 09:03 PM
Oct 2023

But it also the article doesn't sound like they know for a fact, it says "reporting".

I'll reserve judgement until the case has been peer reviewed. This finding is so bizarre it would be like finding an oak tree on the moon. It's just didn't make sense. There is just no way for what they say happened to happen. Going to do some more digging into this.


(113,475 posts)
9. Yes, 'reporting' on a 'report' is usually how they cover
Tue Oct 10, 2023, 09:33 PM
Oct 2023

something they can’t verify definitively or describe precisely.

I can appreciate that bit of caution.


(7,636 posts)
11. Great. Just as mushroom season here begins
Tue Oct 10, 2023, 10:09 PM
Oct 2023

Found my first real edible bounty by surprise the other day: a *massive* bunch of huge, pristine oysters. So now I'm starting to look out, and really didn't need to worry about this! It's bad enough there are a few mountain lions roaming about to curtail my dusk adventure walks with my dog. Oh well.


(112,232 posts)
13. A mycologist spends his life studying fungi and most likely breathing in spores
Tue Oct 10, 2023, 11:57 PM
Oct 2023

so his exposure would have been intense. It's still pretty worrisome, considering how many fungal spores are in the air at any given time, most considered non pathogenic.

Since treating the abscess seems to have provided a cure and there has been no recurrence, I have to think there might have been a tiny scrap of food lodged in there to provide a growth medium for the fungus.

Goood thing, fungal infections are nasty and very hard to treat.


(33,209 posts)
14. The guy is alive & well 2 yrs on. From the article
Tue Oct 10, 2023, 11:58 PM
Oct 2023

"Fortunately in this case, regular drainage of the ulcer with two months on a common antifungal agent did the trick. After two years of check-ups, the patient was still fine with no signs of a repeat infection."

Some Dr sticking a scalple/fine needle with syringe on the regular to drain pus from my throat sounds pretty lousy TBF


(41,693 posts)
16. NIH, June 2023:
Wed Oct 11, 2023, 07:14 PM
Oct 2023

Med Mycol Case Rep. 2023 Jun; 40: 30–32.
Published online 2023 Mar 13. doi: 10.1016/j.mmcr.2023.03.001
PMCID: PMC10025813
PMID: 36950374
Paratracheal abscess by plant fungus Chondrostereum purpureum- first case report of human infection
Soma Dutta? and Ujjwayini Ray
Author information Article notes Copyright and License information PMC Disclaimer
Go to:
Chondrostereum purpureum, is a plant fungus causing silver leaf disease of plants, particularly of the rose family. Here we report a case of paratracheal abscess caused by C. purpureum. This is a first of its kind of a case wherein this plant fungus caused disease in a human. Conventional techniques (microscopy and culture) failed to identify the fungus. Only by sequencing, the identity of this unusual pathogen could 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.

Keywords: Chondrostereum purpureum, Paratracheal abscess, Plant pathogen
Go to:
Silver leaf is a fungal disease of trees caused by the fungal plant pathogen Chondrostereum purpureum. It attacks mostly species of the rose family. The disease is progressive and often fatal. The common name is taken from the progressive silvering of leaves on affected branches. It is spread by airborne spores landing on freshly exposed sapwood. For this reason plants are pruned in summer, when spores are least likely to be present [1].

Hosts with compromised immune system are most vulnerable to fungal infection but healthy and immunecompetent individuals are also frequently reported to have fungal infections. In this situation the infections may be associated with exposure to a large inoculum. Structural and systemic differences between plants and animals provide various challenges for microbial invasion. At the cellular level, plant and animals cells are structurally similar. [2] Few among the millions of fungal species fulfil four basic conditions that are necessary to infect and invade human or animal hosts: (1). High temperature tolerance, (2). Ability to invade the human host, (3). Ability to lysis and absorption of human tissue, and (4). Resistance to the human immune system [3].

Although different evolutionary pathways of plant and animal pathogens exist, evidence of animal or human infection by phytopathogens, has recently emerged. Global warming, alteration of ecosystem, international travel and commerce, and unplanned urbanization may be responsible for emergence of not only newer fungal infection but also various zoonotic viral and bacterial diseases [4]. Phytopathogens are generally considered to be opportunistic pathogens for immunologically weakened population that lack specificity for humans and animals [2]...



(41,693 posts)
20. Strange, my brief search showed The NY Post, India Times &
Wed Oct 11, 2023, 08:04 PM
Oct 2023

a UK daily I can't recall. Maybe I'll check again. Hmm..


(41,693 posts)
22. Just checked again, most links from lare March, early April, some UK
Wed Oct 11, 2023, 08:23 PM
Oct 2023

papers, The Telegraph, The Mirror, The Sun, India sources, a couple lesser known science sites, and Vice below.

Thanks much to you and your husband for this medical news and development!
Pandora's Box': Doctors Warn of Rising Plant Fungus Infections in People After 'First of Its Kind' Case, Vice News, March 31, 2023.
The first case of C. purpureum infecting a person has doctors warning of a rising tide of fungus spurred by climate change and urbanization. https://www.vice.com/en/article/wxj8ny/pandoras-box-doctors-warn-of-rising-plant-fungus-infections-in-people-after-first-of-its-kind-case

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