Our group has discovered a new species of dimorphic fungal infection in South Africa. This is the first new species of dimorphic fungus that infects humans to be found for over 50 years. We have named the organism Emmonsia hoerikwaggiana. It causes severe disease and, if untreated, death in persons with poor immune function such as those infected with HIV. We know very little about this fungus. We will investigate its ecological niches, its geographical range, which organisms it usually infects, what the prevalence is of human infections and how these infections manifest. In addition we want to do further investigations into the risk factors for human infection and the optimal diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
Principal investigator: Colebunders Robert