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Estimated Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Malawi

Blantyre Institute for Community Outreach (BICO), Blantyre, Malawi
College of Medicine, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi
National Aspergillosis Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital and The University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Leading International Fungal Education (LIFE) (, Cheshire SK10 9AR, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Fungi 2018, 4(2), 61;
Received: 18 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 21 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fungal Burden in Different Countries)
Despite efforts to address the burden of fungal infections in Malawi, the prevalence and incidence remain largely unknown. We assessed the annual burden in the general population and among populations at high risk and fungal infection frequencies in each particular population to estimate the national incidence or prevalence. The Malawi population is approximately 17.7 million (2017), with 48% under 15 years of age. Approximately 8% of the population is HIV positive. The most common infections are present in HIV/AIDS patients, with oral candidiasis being the commonest. Life threatening infections among those with AIDS patients include cryptococcal meningitis (8200 cases) and Pneumocystis pneumonia (3690 cases). Pulmonary TB is common, but extra pulmonary TB is rare; an estimated 2329 people have chronic pulmonary aspergillosis after TB. Asthma is a significant problem in Malawi, with an estimated 680,000 adults affected (4.67%) and 14,010 cases of allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA). Tinea capitis is estimated to be present in over 670,000 young people (21% of school age children). The annual incidence of fungal keratitis is difficult to estimate, but as cases are frequently seen in the eye department, is likely to be a minimum of 1825 (10.3/100,000) cases. Among the most serious infections, cryptococcal meningitis and Pneumocystis pneumonia are top of the list. Overall, some 1,338,523 (7.54%) people are affected by a serious fungal infection in Malawi. These basic estimates are limited, due to poor record keeping, and require epidemiological studies to validate or modify the substantial burden estimates. National surveillance of fungal infections is urgently needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: fungal; incidence; prevalence; Malawi; HIV/AIDS; epidemiology fungal; incidence; prevalence; Malawi; HIV/AIDS; epidemiology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kalua, K.; Zimba, B.; Denning, D.W. Estimated Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Malawi. J. Fungi 2018, 4, 61.

AMA Style

Kalua K, Zimba B, Denning DW. Estimated Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Malawi. Journal of Fungi. 2018; 4(2):61.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kalua, Khumbo, Boston Zimba, and David W. Denning. 2018. "Estimated Burden of Serious Fungal Infections in Malawi" Journal of Fungi 4, no. 2: 61.

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