Invasive fungal infections after natural disasters

Emerg Infect Dis. 2014 Mar;20(3):349-55. doi: 10.3201/eid2003.131230.


The link between natural disasters and subsequent fungal infections in disaster-affected persons has been increasingly recognized. Fungal respiratory conditions associated with disasters include coccidioidomycosis, and fungi are among several organisms that can cause near-drowning pneumonia. Wound contamination with organic matter can lead to post-disaster skin and soft tissue fungal infections, notably mucormycosis. The role of climate change in the environmental growth, distribution, and dispersal mechanisms of pathogenic fungi is not fully understood; however, ongoing climate change could lead to increased disaster-associated fungal infections. Fungal infections are an often-overlooked clinical and public health issue, and increased awareness by health care providers, public health professionals, and community members regarding disaster-associated fungal infections is needed.

Keywords: coccidioidomycosis; disasters; fungal infection; fungi; fungus; injuries; meningitis; mucormycosis; pneumonia; tornadoes; tsunamis.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Climate Change
  • Disasters*
  • Humans
  • Mycoses / diagnosis
  • Mycoses / epidemiology*
  • Mycoses / microbiology
  • Public Health