A man’s face erupted in nasty pustules after he caught a deadly fungal infection.
Doctors discovered the 29-year-old had contracted Talaromyces marneffei — one of the world’s “most feared fungi.”
When he visited the doctor, he said he had been suffering from a cough, shortness of breath and a fever for two months, the New England Journal of Medicine reported.
He then broke out into hundreds of tiny spots over his face, neck, arms, legs and torso and lost weight.
Doctors at the Beilun People’s Hospital in Ningbo, China, carried out a biopsy and discovered the patient had actually been infected with a deadly fungus.
The infection, formerly known as Penicillium marneffei, is regarded as being one of the 10 most feared fungi globally, according to a report last year.
It’s most commonly found in southern China, Southeast Asia and northeastern India and causes infection in people with AIDS.
Scientists say the fungus can be fatal for those who have contracted HIV, which the man also tested positive for.
However, there has been an increase in the infection among people with impaired cell-mediated immunity, such as those who have had an organ transplant.
Overall, the incidence of T. marneffei infection has decreased with the increased use of highly active antiretroviral therapy.
The infection was first discovered in 1956 as an infection among bamboo rats and was recognized as a human disease after the AIDS pandemic arrived in Asia in the late 1980s.
However the mode of transmission of the organism remains unclear, a report in the Clinical Microbiology Reviews says.
It’s been suggested that soil exposure, especially during the rainy season, is a critical risk factor.
Typical symptoms can include fever, anemia, weight loss, respiratory problems and skin lesions.
Patients who don’t receive appropriate anti-fungal treatment have a poor prognosis.
In this case, the patient was treated with intravenous anti-fungal medication and began antiretroviral therapy two weeks later.
Within four months, the papules had significantly diminished, leaving behind some minor scarring.