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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Toxic effects of mycotoxins in humans.


PMID 10534900

Abstract

Mycotoxicoses are diseases caused by mycotoxins, i.e. secondary metabolites of moulds. Although they occur more frequently in areas with a hot and humid climate, favourable for the growth of moulds, they can also be found in temperate zones. Exposure to mycotoxins is mostly by ingestion, but also occurs by the dermal and inhalation routes. Mycotoxicoses often remain unrecognized by medical professionals, except when large numbers of people are involved. The present article reviews outbreaks of mycotoxicoses where the mycotoxic etiology of the disease is supported by mycotoxin analysis or identification of mycotoxin-producing fungi. Epidemiological, clinical and histological findings (when available) in outbreaks of mycotoxicoses resulting from exposure to aflatoxins, ergot, trichothecenes, ochratoxins, 3-nitropropionic acid, zearalenone and fumonisins are discussed.

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