What is Medical Mycology? | Professor Neil A.R. Gow

Medical mycology is the study of those
fungi which cause human disease and indeed diseases of animals. Fungi are a huge group of organisms. One of the most biodiverse groups on the
planet. It’s difficult to know how many species. We think there may be more than
5 million. But of those, only actually a relatively small group cause disease in
humans. Probably only around about a hundred and of those, an even smaller
group which cause serious disease. Only about 4 major species
account for about 90-plus percent of all human deaths. So medical mycology is
largely focused on that small subgroup of organisms. However, just because
they’re a small number does not mean to say that this is not an important branch
of medicine in general. In fact, the opposite is the case. This is a rather
neglected field, under capacity and really needs new blood and additional
input and we hope that this book will really facilitate that by providing a
sort of resource that a new student of medical mycology might want to refer to. Perhaps one of the most fundamental
barriers in medical mycology is not a scientific one, but a social one. This
field is basically, terribly under capacity. There are not enough medical
mycologists. We need a new generation of those to be able to deal with this level
of disease. And this book is the sort of aid that somebody who’s entering the
field, perhaps from some related field of bacteriology and virology or
parasitology, might be intrigued by, might allow them to make that transition to
join the fight against medically important fungi. This book is put together by a series of
sectional editors and the chair of the book is Chris Kibbler. The origins of the
book are part of the British Society for Medical Mycology’s master’s course
and Professor Kibbler, who also organised that course, recognised the need for a
contemporary textbook that really helped an advanced student to get into this
field. The rest of the editorial team managed the subsections which are
described in this book and they also contribute to a very large number of
authors. I think nearly a hundred in total, which put together the book which
is a comprehensive analysis of this whole field.

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