Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 17;11(1):3943. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-83587-1.
Autopsy continues to play an essential role in monitoring opportunistic fungal infections. However, few studies have analysed the historical trends of fungal infections in autopsies. Here, we analyse available data on fungal infections obtained from autopsy reports during 85 years of autopsies performed by the largest autopsy service in Brazil. All invasive fungal infections presented in autopsy reports between 1930 and 2015 were included. Of the 158,404 autopsy reports analysed, 1096 involved invasive fungal infections. In general, paracoccidioidomycosis (24%) was the most frequent infection, followed by candidiasis (18%), pneumocystosis (11.7%), cryptococcosis (11%), aspergillosis (11%) and histoplasmosis (3.8%). Paracoccidioidomycosis decreased after the 1950s, whereas opportunistic fungal infections increased steadily after the 1980s during the peak of the AIDS pandemic. The lung was the most frequently affected organ (73%). Disseminated infection was present in 64.5% of cases. In 26% of the 513 cases for which clinical charts were available for review, the diagnosis of opportunistic fungal infections was performed only at autopsy. Our unique 85-year history of autopsies showed a transition from endemic to opportunistic fungal infections in São Paulo, Brazil, reflecting increased urbanization, the appearance of novel diseases, such as AIDS in the 1980s, and advances in medical care over time.