Deadly fungal disease might be linked to climate change, study suggests


Three unrelated variants of deadly Candida auris cropped up simultaneously in South America, Asia and Africa, and it has spread to more than 30 countries in the past decade. People with already-compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable, while hospital outbreaks have led to both confusion and secrecy.

The Center for Disease Control has labeled C. auris a "serious global health threat".

Arturo Casadevall, an author of the study shared, the fungal infections have not been very common in humans. "As a substitute, you may take constructive steps to cope with issues about a big selection of infections, even the deadliest ones". Knock down one or both of those protective pillars, however, and humans start to look like a good host for opportunistic fungi.

Scientists said that one of the most unsafe to humans of the fungi, Candida auris, evolyutsioniruet in the direction of greater resistance to temperature rise.

To find some clues, Chiller's team peered into the genome of C. auris and related species, and mapped where its been detected in hospitals globally.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, investigated the rise of C.auris and suggested warming is causing it.

Dr Casadevall added: 'What this study suggests is this is the beginning of fungi adapting to higher temperatures, and we are going to have more and more problems as the century goes on.

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The temperature of the atmosphere has significantly raised. "But these organisms have the capacity to adapt to change, and for them, this change is happening gradually, because they can replicate every couple of hours".

"Whether C. auris is the first example of new pathogenic fungi emerging from climate change or whether its origin into the realm of human-pathogenic fungi followed a different trajectory, its emanation stokes worries that humanity may face new diseases from fungal adaptation to hotter climates", they write. The researchers acknowledge that climate change is likely just one of many factors that led to its emergence. "Fortunately, Candida auris has not spread too wide swaths of the inhabitants, and wholesome individuals hardly ever develop an infection", he writes. They also cited a previous finding from Casadevall's laboratory that some other fungal species in a large culture collection had begun to adapt to global warming by increasing their tolerance for higher temperatures.

Fungus can impair the immune system. "The reasons that fungal infections are so rare in humans are that most of the fungi in the environment can not grow at the temperatures or our body".

Study co-author Dr. Arturo Casadevall comments that this is particularly unusual because fungus tends to prefer cooler ambient temperatures.

He put together the genetic evidence with the conjecture in what the American Society for Microbiology called an opinion/hypothesis paper titled "On the emergence of Candida auris: Climate change, azoles [an antifungal agent], swamps and birds". Unless illnesses are reported in medical literature, scientists won't know the fungi is spreading.

Other studies have blamed the widespread use of antifungal drugs, but the latest study argues the theory does not easily explain why it suddenly became a human pathogen on three continents.