New research from the University of Georgia found that fungal infections account for $6.7 billion in health care spending in 2018. And that’s just the cases that were directly responsible for inpatient hospital stays.
Combined with secondary infections and diagnoses, the total cost of hospital stays associated with fungal infections was a whopping $37.7 billion, comprising 1.1% of total U.S. national health care expenses. It’s quite possible that fungi-related costs are even higher now, given the rise of secondary fungal infections in COVID-19 patients.
The study also found that fungal infections in hospitalized patients doubled hospital costs, doubled the length of a patient’s stay and doubled the patient’s risk of death.
“Fungal infections are much more than a yeast infection or athlete’s foot,” said Emily Rayens, corresponding author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “These infections can have a very big impact on people’s lives and have a very high mortality rate.”