A deadly plant fungus has infected a human and caused flu symptoms in the world's first case, according to scientists.
Chondrostereum purpureum causes silver leaf disease in flowers, especially in rose varieties.
The fungus is spread by airborne spores, and is often fatal.
It causes "silver leaf" disease because it gradually turns the leaves silver.
Until now, there were no known cases of the fungus infecting humans, and doctors in India believe that the person infected in the country is the first in the world.
The patient was a 61-year-old mushroom picker who received treatment at a Calcutta (Kolkata) hospital after suffering from symptoms including cough, exhaustion, difficulty swallowing and hoarseness for three months.
He does not have any underlying diseases.
In the scans he underwent at the hospital, it was discovered that the infection caused peritoneal abscesses in the patient's neck, which partially blocked his airways.
The doctors drained the pus and prescribed him an antifungal medication for two months.
Two years later, the patient is "completely healthy" and the infection has not returned.
In the study it was not published when that person was infected with the fungus.
The case was published in the journal "Medical Mycology Case Reports", and the study states that the fact that a person was infected with the fungus "raises serious questions" about the ability of plant pathogens to cause disease in healthy animals and humans.
"If a fungus can penetrate a human immune system, then it can be the opposite of a human pathogen," the doctors wrote.
Oval hard mushroom (photo: screenshot, Twitter)
The pus taken from the patient in India (photo: screenshot, Twitter)
According to estimates, there are millions of species of fungi, and we know about 15.
A thousand of them.
The few fungi capable of infecting humans can handle a body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius.
Fungi tend to affect people with weaker immune systems.
The fear is that as the Earth warms due to climate change, familiar and unfamiliar fungi will become possible threats as they learn to survive in a warmer climate.
Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed 19 species of fungi that could become a threat to public health.
Asia and the Pacific