Invasive Fungal Infections

What Are Invasive Fungal Infections?

Invasive fungal infections, also known as deep or systemic fungal infections, are a group of dangerous infections caused by fungi. They occur when fungi invade and grow in the body tissues, causing damage and sometimes leading to death. Although it is rare, when it occurs, invasive fungal infections can be life-threatening, especially in people with weakened immune systems. Different fungi produce different types of infections, and early diagnosis and treatment is essential for successful treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Invasive Fungal Infections

The signs and symptoms of invasive fungal infections depend on the type of fungus causing it and how far the infection has spread. Common symptoms include fever, chills, night sweats, confusion, joint or abdominal pain, coughing, difficulty breathing, and skin rashes. Other symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes.

Risk Factors

Anyone can get an invasive fungal infection, but those at higher risk include:

  • People with a weakened immune system
  • People with cancer or undergoing cancer treatment
  • People with HIV/AIDS
  • People taking certain medications, such as antibiotics
  • People who have had organ transplants
  • People in the hospital or receiving medical care
  • Babies and young children


Invasive fungal infections can be difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms can be similar to other illnesses. In order to diagnose an infection, doctors generally use tests such as blood tests, tissue or fluid samples, or imaging to look inside the body and check for signs of infection. Once the infection has been identified, doctors will decide on the best treatment plan.


Invasive fungal infections require prompt treatment with antifungal medications, either orally or through an intravenous drip. Treatments may include drugs such as amphotericin B, fluconazole, or itraconazole. Treatment is sometimes used in combination with surgery, depending on the type of infection. Follow-up care is also important, as some fungal infections can recur.


Invasive fungal infections can be difficult to prevent, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk, including:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid contact with natural ground or plants
  • Avoid water-related activities, such as swimming in bodies of water
  • Take antibiotics only as prescribed by a doctor


Invasive fungal infections are a group of dangerous infections caused by fungi, and they can be life-threatening in people with weakened immune systems. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment with antifungal medications are essential for successful treatment. To lower your risk, practice good hygiene and follow the recommended preventive measures.