Surveillance for fungal diseases is essential to improve our understanding of their epidemiology and to enable research and prevention efforts to be prioritized. In order to conduct better surveillance for fungal diseases, it is important to develop more accurate and timely diagnostic tests, to follow rigorous epidemiological methods and to have adequate support from public health agencies and the pharmaceutical industry. Investigations of nosocomial and community outbreaks of fungal infection have also resulted in a better understanding of the sources and routes of transmission of these diseases, and of the risk factors for infection. This has led to more effective prevention and control strategies. In addition, outbreak investigations have offered excellent opportunities to develop new molecular sub-typing methods, and to evaluate and validate older ones. For example, results obtained from a global epidemiological study of the genomic structure of Cryptococcus neoformans have led to a better understanding of the epidemiology of cryptococcosis. Similarly, a study of variations in the genotype of Trichophyton rubrum has found that patients may become infected with multiple strains, which has important implications for study design when looking at the epidemiology of dermatophyte infections.