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Fungal Zoonotic Infections

Fungal Zoonotic Infections
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  • 0:00 Fungal Zoonotic Diseases
  • 0:36 Ringworm: Dermatophytosis
  • 2:34 Other Fungal Zoonotic Diseases
  • 3:13 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson will go over the most common fungal zoonotic disease a person can get and list the potential, albeit rare, other fungal zoonotic infections a person can get from an animal.

Fungal Zoonotic Diseases

Beer, bread, and other brew all use yeast, as I'm sure you already knew. Yeast are fungi that can help people and hurt people. You already know how we use them to good effect, but we can also get yeast infections, which are anything but pleasant.

Other kinds of fungi, other than yeast, can also inhabit the human body to our detriment. We'll go over one major zoonotic disease of note and mention the more unlikely possibilities as well. A zoonotic disease is a disease that can be transmitted from an animal to a human.

Ringworm: Dermatophytosis

The most famous fungal zoonotic disease is known as dermatophytosis, or more commonly known as ringworm. The colloquial name is a complete misnomer. It's not caused by a worm, it's caused by fungi known as dermatophytes.

Speaking of misnomers, 'dermato-', in 'dermatophyte', implies the 'skin' and '-phyte', in this specific case, implies some sort of 'plant.' So, a dermatophyte is literally a skin plant. But, once again, that's a misnomer because we know it's actually a fungus. But okay, we're done with the misnomers for this lesson, so you can relax now!

Ringworm is a fungal infection that thrives on keratin, the structural material of the outer layer of the skin, hair, and nails. When a person gets ringworm from an animal, including a dog, cat, or otherwise, a red circular rash may appear on their body. Sometimes it itches and sometimes it doesn't. The red circle sometimes surrounds an area of skin that looks more or less normal at the center.

So, if you ever see an animal with a bald patch where there wasn't one before, make sure to take it to the veterinarian right away, because it just might be ringworm. Of course, if you enjoy having red circles on your body, itching yourself, and potentially having bald patches on your own head, then disregard my advice. Bald men may not have to worry as much about losing their hair from ringworm, but the rest of us might have a heart attack if that happens.

Something of note is that you don't even have to touch an infected animal to get ringworm, although that's one way to get it. Fungi can be shed by the animal into the environment, contaminate an object that you use, such as a comb, pillow, or towel, and infect you indirectly.

Oh, and if you care more about your pets than yourself, then consider this. If you get ringworm first, you can cause reverse zoonosis, whereby your pet dog will get ringworm from you. And that's no fun!

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