Global Warming’s Role in the Emergence of a Deadly Infection

The emergence of a multi-drug resistant fungus, called Candida Auris, which breeds in hospital environments and preys on people with weaker immunity, is a major public health concern lately.

While its origins were still uncertain, a paper published in the journal mBio discusses the possible link between global warming and climate change with the incidence of this fungal infection.

According to a Times report, the lead author of the study, Dr Arturo Casadevall, chair of the molecular microbiology and immunology department at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said,

"“The greatest mystery is how you end up with the same fungal species emerging in three different continents at roughly the same time when they are genetically different.”" - Dr Arturo Casadevall

The researchers found that majority of such fungi cannot survive in the warm temperatures of the human body, so it is plausible to believe that this fungus may have adapted to higher temperatures.

The report explains that “the higher ambient temperatures caused by global warming will eventually lead some kinds of fungus to breach the thermal restriction zone, which is so hot that it typically keeps most fungal species off your body”.

Without those defenses working, Candida auris and other fungal species that adapt to higher temperatures can infect and possibly kill humans. 

The infection is a global health concern for four simple reasons: it is multi-drug resistant, detecting it with standard laboratory tests is difficult, it is transmittable in hospital environments, and it can be fatal. Over one-third of people infected with the fungus die, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Also Read: India & Candida Auris: The Deadly Infection Breeding in Hospitals

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