The 11th Training Course in Diagnostic Medical Mycology ‘Conventional and Molecular Techniques’ started today (June 13, 2011) at Division of Mycology, Department of Medical Microbiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh. The delegates from different medical Institutes at Agartala, Kolkata, Cuttack, Delhi, Mumbai, Karad, Shimla, Chennai, Belgaum, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, and Ludhiana are participating in the course. The training course will run for coming six days. Fungal infections are a significant public-health problem worldwide. They are being increasingly reported from India, with invasive fungal infections emerging as a major concern owing to the alarming rise in their incidence, and high morbidity and mortality associated with such infection. India is located in the tropical and sub-tropical zones, and provides an optimum environment for the survival and growth of fungi. The population in India comprises of a large economically-deprived section, facing poor hygiene, poor sanitation, and below-optimum healthcare facilities, and also a limited prosperous section availing the modern medical interventions including transplants and invasive therapy for malignancies. Invasive fungal infections occur more frequently in both these population extremes, albeit for different reasons. A large number of untrained healthcare providers, the misuse of steroids, intravenous drug abuse and the easy availability of spurious medical care infusion sets further contribute to the high incidence of invasive fungal infections in India. Thus, the number of persons at risk of fungal infections in India is staggering. However, the exact data regarding incidence/prevalence of fungal infections in India is sketchy at best. The deficiency of availability of data is due to there being few diagnostic mycology laboratories in India and lack of awareness of manifestations of mycotic diseases among majority clinicians.
The Mycology Division in the Department of Medical Microbiology has worked consistently in various field of fungal disease for the last three decades. It is working at present as the National Reference Laboratory in the field of medical mycology. WHO has made it is as the ‘WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Fungi of Medical Importance’. Recently this center has been recognized as the ‘National Culture Collection for Pathogenic fungi’. The center is conducting this course for last six years for development of manpower in this area. This course in diagnostic mycology every year is helping in the development of this discipline in this country. Already 25 diagnostic medical mycology laboratories have been developed at different corners of the country by the persons, who were trained in this course.
That has helped in development of two national networks – zygomycosis network and candidemia network. Prof. A. Chakrabarti at PGI, Chandigarh is the coordinator of both networks. These networks will help in understanding the impact and the epidemiology of those two diseases in this country. The 11th PGI-ICMR-WHO National Training Course was inaugurated today (13.6.2011) by Prof. Meera Sharma, Head, Department of Medical Microbiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh. She highlighted the importance of Medical Mycology in the present day’s scenario of large number immunosuppressed patients in tertiary care centers and congratulated the role played by Mycology Division of this Institute in development of this discipline for this country.
Prof. Arunaloke Chakrabarti, Chief Resource Person of the workshop introduced the course to the participants. He stressed on the need of urgent development of good diagnostic mycology laboratories in different corners of this country. International Society for Human and Animal Mycology has given lot of importance on the laboratory development of India and Mycology Division of Department of Medical Microbiology at PGIMER, Chandigarh is considered as the lead center for all Southeast Asian Countries. Prof. A. Chakrabarti gave an overview of fungal diseases in India and the relevant diagnostic techniques.
Dr. M R Shivaprakash spoke on ‘Conidiation’ (a method important for identification of the fungus) and Dr. Lipika on ‘Media and stains used in mycology’. Other staff of mycology division worked as facilitators in the practical training of the delegates on ‘basic techniques in clinical mycology laboratory’, ‘techniques for identification of mycelial or unknown fungi’, and ‘identification of superficial fungal agents’