Origin: Widespread in the environment. It is very common as a food spoilage organism and also in indoor environments. Common in soil, on plants and outdoor air. Some species of Penicillium are used for the production of special cheeses, certain acids and antibiotics. Common in foods such as corn, cereals, cheese, meat, nuts, fruits, rice etc.
Health effects: Infections are usually caused by inhalation of the spores. It starts as a pulmonary disease but may spread into the adjacent blood vessels. It disseminates to the rest of the body. Total invasion occurs in debilitated patients and can occur in immunocompetent (those with healthy immune systems) individuals as well. Penicillium species causes keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), keratomycosis, penicilliosis, ostomycosis, onychomycosis (infection of the nail) and deep infections. It has been know to cause external ear, respiratory, and urinary tract infections, and endocarditis after insertion of valve prostheses.
Last Updated: 02 Spetember 2009
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