Malassezia : Zoonotic Implications, Parallels and Differences in Colonization and Disease in Humans and Animals

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number708
Number of pages33
Journal / PublicationJournal of Fungi
Issue number7
Online published4 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022



Malassezia spp. are commensals of the skin, oral/sinonasal cavity, lower respiratory and gastrointestinal tract. Eighteen species have been recovered from humans, other mammals and birds. They can also be isolated from diverse environments, suggesting an evolutionary trajectory of adaption from an ecological niche in plants and soil to the mucocutaneous ecosystem of warm-blooded vertebrates. In humans, dogs and cats, Malassezia-associated dermatological conditions share some commonalities. Otomycosis is common in companion animals but is rare in humans. Systemic infections, which are increasingly reported in humans, have yet to be recognized in animals. Malassezia species have also been identified as pathogenetic contributors to some chronic human diseases. While Malassezia species are host-adapted, some species are zoophilic and can cause fungemia, with outbreaks in neonatal intensive care wards associated with temporary colonization of healthcare worker’s hands from contact with their pets. Although standardization is lacking, susceptibility testing is usually performed using a modified broth microdilution method. Antifungal susceptibility can vary depending on Malassezia species, body location, infection type, disease duration, presence of co-morbidities and immunosuppression. Antifungal resistance mechanisms include biofilm formation, mutations or overexpression of ERG11, overexpression of efflux pumps and gene rearrangements or overexpression in chromosome 4.

Research Area(s)

  • dermatology, zoonotic diseases, fungi, Malassezia, yeasts, resistance, transmission, animals, humans

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