Objective: Jamaica is one of the largest countries in the Caribbean with a population of 2 706 500. Prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Jamaica is high, while that of tuberculosis (TB) is recorded to be low. In this study, we have estimated the burden of serious fungal infections and some other mycoses in Jamaica.
Methods: All published papers reporting on rates of fungal infections in Jamaica and the Caribbean were identified through extensive search of literature. We also extracted data from published papers on epidemiology and from the WHO STOP TB programme and UNAIDS. Chronic pulmonary aspergillosis (CPA), allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) and severe asthma with fungal sensitization (SAFS) rates were derived from asthma and TB rates. Where there were no available data on some mycoses, we used specific populations at risk and frequencies of fungal infection of each to estimate national prevalence.
Results: Over 57 600 people in Jamaica probably suffer from serious fungal infections each year, most related to ‘fungal asthma’ (ABPA and SAFS), recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis and AIDS-related opportunistic infections. Histoplasmosis is endemic in Jamaica, though only a few clinical cases are known. Pneumocystis pneumonia is frequent while cryptococcosis and aspergillosis are rarely recorded. Tinea capitis in children is common. Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis is very common (3154/100 000) and candidaemia occurs. Subcutaneous mycoses such as chromoblastomycosis and mycetoma also seem to be relatively common.
Conclusion: Local epidemiological studies are urgently required to validate or modify these estimates of serious fungal infections in Jamaica.