Fungal infections kill at least 1,350,000 people with or following AIDS, cancer, TB and asthma as well as causing untold misery and blindness to 300 millions more worldwide every year. They are a particular problem in India with 10’s of millions affected. Recently it is estimated that invasive candidiasis rate in India is nearly 20 times more than the western world. We are the capital of mucormycosis, as the rate is 70 times to western world. To counter such enormous challenge in India, Reference Center at PGIMER, Chandigarh runs to two national training courses every year.
The 16th PGI-ICMR-WHO National Training Course conducted by Division of Mycology under the ‘Centre for Advanced Research in Medical Mycology’ has started today (18.12.2013) in the Department of Medical Microbiology, PGIMER, Chandigarh. It would continue for four days. The theme of the present Training Course is ‘Challenges in diagnosis of fungal infections’. Technical staff from Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Pondicherry, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Haryana have come to participate in this workshop. Prof. Arunaloke Chakrabarti, Head, Department of Medical Microbiology and Chief Resource Person of the training course welcomed the delegates of the workshop today. He highlighted the achievements of Mycology Division– conducting regular training course, research in epidemiology and diagnosis of fungal infections. He mentioned the need of the course, course curriculum. Running the courses over 8 years, PGI has helped in development of 84 diagnostic mycology laboratories across India. He thanked both Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and World Health Organization (WHO) for supporting the capacity building activities in the field of medical mycology. He gave an overview of fungal diseases of this country and explained the diagnostic techniques involved in fungal disease. Prof. B M Hemashettar of Belgaum highlighted the challenges in superficial and subcutaneous fungal infections. In recent years rate of Malassezia infections has gone up. Dandruff is caused by fungi. So every shampoo contains antifungal compounds though the dose is not standardized. Dr. MR Shivaprakash, Additional Professor of PGI explained the method of collection of samples and their processing. 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’.