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Drug-resistant fungi are a 'serious and immediate' threat to human health

Fungal infections could become resistant to medication and cause an epidemic in humans, crops and animals, experts warn.

Like the increasing number of bacteria that are becoming antibiotic resistant, fungi  could also one day be incurable.

Researchers led by Imperial College London and the University of Exeter caution that overusing anti-fungal treatments in farming and medicine could be making them less effective.

Resistant fungal infections could cause widespread crop failures and be deadly for people with conditions such as a weakened immune system from having cancer.

One researcher says the threat is 'under-appreciated' and 'immediate'.

Fungi destroy a fifth of global crop yields each year, and cause diseases which kill more people than breast cancer or malaria, scientists say

Regular use of the type of antifungal used to treat thrush, athlete's foot, ringworm and fungal nail infections is partly to blame, the scientists say.   The drugs – which were discovered in the 1950s and are called azoles – also account for about a quarter of fungicides used in agriculture.  It is thought they kill off weaker strains of fungal infection but stronger strains survive the treatment and continue to spread.    The scientists' research says fungi are responsible for a range of infections in humans, animals and plants.  These include blights which can wipe out food crops, yeast infections which can lead to blood poisoning in humans and livestock.  

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