Structure: Fungi

Disease-causing fungi can be divided into two broad groups: the filamentous fungi, which grow as branching threads called hyphae; and the single-celled yeasts. Some fungi have features of both groups. Fungi may form spores that remain dormant for years before causing disease.

Filamentous fungi

These fungi form long tubular branches known as hyphae that may be divided into segments by cross walls called septa.


These types of fungus live in colonies of spherical or ovoid single cells. They multiply by cell division and budding.

Fungal spores

Various types of fungus, including aspergillus fungi, produce dormant forms called spores that may cause illness if inhaled.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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