Medicine

The rise of a deadly superfungus may be tied to global warming

The rise of a deadly superfungus may be tied to global warming

The good thing is that, across Canada, the provincial laboratories and the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg have the necessary technology to recognize it, but the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention warns about the troubled identification of the fungus in other parts of the world. It has been reported in more than 30 countries and is probably more widespread than that because the organism is hard to identify without specialized laboratory methods. The fungus can lead to infections of the bloodstream, heart or brain, and early studies estimate that it is fatal in 30% to 60% of patients. Genetically distinct versions of the fungus have sprung up simultaneously in India, South Africa and South America, perplexing researchers in the process.

USA health officials have been warning about new generations of fast-spreading, drug-resistant diseases proliferating thanks to climate change, and it appears they have identified the first candidate. Without those defenses working, Candida auris and other fungal species that adapt to higher temperatures can infect and possibly kill humans.

The argument that we are making based on comparison to other close relative fungi is that as the climate has gotten warmer, some of these organisms, including Candida auris, have adapted to the higher temperature, and as they adapt, they break through human's protective temperatures. The experts note that the sudden, independent emergence of C auris as a human pathogen on three continents simultaneously cannot be explained exclusively by widespread use of antifungal drugs or recent acquisition of virulence traits, and that fungal pathogens are rare in mammals because they can't grow at human body temperature. One of the strangest things about C. auris is that it emerged on three continents around the same time, but globally rising temperatures help connect the dots, researchers write in mBio. Something happened to allow the organism to "bubble up and cause disease. These are different regions, populations, climates, you name it", Casadevall said.

That's a problem for people because "we have very little ability [to adapt]", said Casadevall. "We are putting together strands of facts to explain something that is mystifying", he said.

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The examine contains the caveat that whereas "global warming-related adjustments within the environment might need to be played a distinguished position" within the fungus emergence, it "is unlikely to elucidate the whole story". Agreed the patients can take in antifungal drugs, but the yeast is resistant.

Candida auris, a fungus that can kill anyone who comes into close contact with a carrier, was first identified in 2009 in a Japanese patient with an ear infection.

Scientists suggest a new theory about the origins of a unsafe, drug-resistant fungus that may strike the sickest patients in hospitals and healthcare facilities that offers long-term care: global warming. Two months later, the first seven USA cases were reported to CDC. Most of the cases have been detected in the New York City area, New Jersey and Chicago area. However, the yeast can live on a host for over a month and further spread the infection.