Race and ethnicity: Risk factors for fungal infections?

Abstract

Racial and ethnic identities, largely understood as social rather than biologic constructs, may impact risk for acquiring infectious diseases, including fungal infections. Risk factors may include genetic and immunologic differences such as aberrations in host immune response, host polymorphisms, and epigenomic factors stemming from environmental exposures and underlying social determinants of health. In addition, certain racial and ethnic groups may be predisposed to diseases that increase risk for fungal infections, as well as disparities in healthcare access and health insurance. In this review, we analyzed racial and ethnic identities as risk factors for acquiring fungal infections, as well as race and ethnicity as they relate to risk for severe disease from fungal infections. Risk factors for invasive mold infections such as aspergillosis largely appear related to environmental differences and underlying social determinants of health, although immunologic aberrations and genetic polymorphisms may contribute in some circumstances. Although black and African American individuals appear to be at high risk for superficial and invasive Candida infections and cryptococcosis, the reasons for this are unclear and may be related to underling social determinants of health, disparities in access to healthcare, and other socioeconomic disparities. Risk factors for all the endemic fungi are likely largely related to underlying social determinants of health, socioeconomic, and health disparities, although immunologic mechanisms likely play a role as well, particularly in disseminated coccidioidomycosis.

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Published Version (Please cite this version)

10.1371/journal.ppat.1011025

Publication Info

Jenks, Jeffrey D, Chioma Inyang Aneke, Mohanad M Al-Obaidi, Matthias Egger, Lorena Garcia, Tommi Gaines, Martin Hoenigl, George R Thompson, et al. (2023). Race and ethnicity: Risk factors for fungal infections?. PLoS pathogens, 19(1). p. e1011025. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1011025 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/28595.

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