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A NEW THREAT to people with AIDS is emerging in Southeast Asia: infection with the fungal organism Penicillium marneffei, which carries the risk of death if not treated. As with other rarely seen and once obscure diseases, this organism has seized the opportunity for advancement offered by the compromised immune systems of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
"The incidence [of infection with P marneffei] has increased alarmingly in Bangkok and Northern Thailand, more than doubling from 500 cases in 1994 to 1300 cases in 1995," said Rataporn Ungpakorn, MD, head of the Department of Mycology at the Institute of Dermatology, Bangkok, Thailand.
At a session on "Mycoses of the Pacific Rim" at the International Summit on Cutaneous Antifungal Therapy held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Ungpakorn suggested that these data may represent only the tip of the iceberg, and that the actual number of AIDS patients infected with
Phillips P. Penicillium marneffei Part of Southeast Asian AIDS. JAMA. 1996;276(2):86-87. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540020008003