Central nervous system (CNS) infections caused by brown-black or dematiaceous fungi are distinctly rare and represent a small proportion of infections termed phaeohyphomycoses. However, these are becoming more commonly reported. Though many fungi have been implicated in disease, most cases are caused by only a few species, Cladophialophora bantiana
being the most common. Most of the fungi described are molds, and often cause infection in immunocompetent individuals, in contrast to infection with other more common molds such as Aspergillus
, which is usually seen in highly immunocompromised patients. Diagnosis is challenging, as there are no specific tests for this group of fungi. In addition, these infections are often refractory to standard drug therapies, requiring an aggressive combined surgical and medical approach to improve outcomes, yet mortality remains high. There are no standardized treatments due to a lack of randomized clinical trials, though guidelines have been published based on available data and expert opinion.
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