Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment

Vol 7, Issue 2,2009
Online ISSN: 1459-0263
Print ISSN: 1459-0255

Survey of opportunistic fungi in ocular infection in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia


Abdulrahman M. Alqurashi

Recieved Date: 2008-11-19, Accepted Date: 2009-03-27


Opportunistic fungi, usually considered as non-pathogenic, have been shown to cause ophthalmic infections which are difficult to treat. Proper identification of these fungi helps in the control of the disease. Therefore, the present study was conducted to survey the occurrence of opportunistic fungi, associated with keratitis, in the hospitals of Hofof, Alkhober and Dammam, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia during 2004-2005. From patients suffering from keratomycosis, 31 species belonging to 14 fungal genera were identified. Eighteen fungal genera including 46 species were recorded as air-spora at the site of sampling. Aspergillus flavus, Penicillium oxalicium, Micosporium gypseum, A. fumigatus, A. niger and Cladosporium oxysporium were recorded in higher frequencies from human patients, while C. oxysporium, C. cladosporioides, A. alternata, A. cheiranthe, P. spinolosum, P. oxalicium, A. niger, A. flavus, A. ficuum, A. parasiticus and A. versicolor were the most frequent species isolated from the air. The high quotient of similarity (QS) values in this study indicated affinities between ophthalmic and atmospheric fungi. The results also revealed that Aspergillus and Penicillium were the most frequent genera isolated and accounting collectively more than 50% of total fungal counts. The animal model revealed that A. fumigates Fresenius was the most frequent fungal pathogen giving pathogenicity and precipitin tests positive in 100 and 75% experimental rabbits, respectively. The clinical appearance was not in any way distinctive for any particular causative fungus. However, the symptoms appeared at different times depending upon the pathogenicity of the species. Opportunistic fungal pathogens play a greater role than normal pathogens. Detection and proper identification of these fungi in many cases may help in the control of the disease.


Opportunistic fungi, keratitis, ophthalmic fungi

Journal: Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment
Year: 2009
Volume: 7
Issue: 2
Category: Food and Health
Pages: 247-251

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