Volume 27, Number 9—September 2021
Talaromyces marneffei [t læ′ ɹɒ maɪ̯s ɪz mɑ:neɪ′]
Talaromyces marneffei (formerly Penicillium marneffei) is a thermally dimorphic fungus that causes talaromycosis, which was previously called penicilliosis. The genus name Talaromyces is derived from the Greek words tálaros (basket) and múkēs (mushroom). Talaros aptly describes the ascocarp known as a gymnothecium (composed of fine woven hyphae) in which asci are formed. Asexual stages of Talaromyces species were previously known as the species Penicillium of the subgenus Biverticillium. Capponi and Sureau isolated the fungus at Institute Pasteur de Dalat in Vietnam in 1955 from Chinese bamboo rats (Rhizomys sinensis). In 1959, Gabriel Segretain, after an accidental finger prick with a needle containing the yeast cells, described the fungus as a new species, naming it Penicillium marneffei in honor of Hubert Marneffe (1901‒1970), the Director of the Institute in Indochina (Figure 1).
Talaromycosis affects persons who live in or visit Southeast Asia, southern China, or northeastern India, and are immunocompromised because of HIV/AIDS, cancer, organ transplant, or adult-onset immunodeficiency syndrome (Figure 2). This disease occurs after inhalation of aerosolized fungal spores from the environment. Although the precise reservoir is unknown, T. marneffei is found in bamboo rats.
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Original Publication Date: August 09, 2021