Molds include all species of microscopic fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments, called hyphae. In contrast, microscopic fungi that grow as single cells are called yeasts. A connected network of these tubular branching hyphae has the same DNA and is considered a single organism, referred to as a colony or in more technical terms a mycelium.
Mold spores can be allergenic. When inhaled, mold spores may germinate, attaching to cells along the respiratory tract and causing further problems in those with weak immune systems. One example is Stachybotrys chartarum which has been associated with sick building syndrome.
Infection by opportunistic pathogen molds such as Penicillium marneffei and Aspergillus fumigatus is a common cause of death among immunocompromised people, including AIDS patients.
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