Health Care

Climate Change, the Main Trigger for Candida Auris Expansion

Climate Change, the Main Trigger for Candida Auris Expansion”

Three years ago, US health officials warned hundreds of thousands of clinicians in hospitals around the country to be on the lookout for a new, quickly spreading and highly drug-resistant type of yeast that was causing potentially fatal infections in hospitalized patients around the world. Since it was first identified in Japan a decade ago, it has been popping up in several far-flung parts of the globe, emerging in five continents and 30 countries.

It has since been spotted in the US, Canada, Venezuela, Colombia, South Africa and India, as well as Spain, Norway, and Germany.

And reports earlier in the year revealed that at least 260 people across the United Kingdom have caught the infection since 2012.

However, C. auris did not spread like a virus would, scattering out from one location. "Something happened to allow this organism to bubble up and cause disease", stated Dr Casadevall.

'We began to look into the possibility that it could be climate change, ' he added on the back of the study.

Earlier studies have shown that of the millions of species of fungi, only a few hundred cause human disease.

Most strains of the organisms thrive at temperatures around 18 to 22°C (64-71°F).

"It will be vitally important to study other fungal species to determine if they, too, demonstrate tolerance for higher temperatures", Adalja said.

The temperature of the atmosphere has significantly raised.

"What this research suggests is that is the start of fungi adapting to increased temperatures, and we're going to have an increasing number of issues because the century goes on", Arturo Casadevall, MD, Ph.D., and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology chair at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said.

"When it comes to the origins of Candida auris, it's a complete mystery about where it came from still", said Dr. Brendan Jackson, leader of the epidemiology team of the CDC's fungal diseases branch, who was not involved with the research.

But as the climate has gotten warmer, the researchers say, C. auris was able to adapt, which helped it replicate in the human body's temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even after a C. auris infection is treated, patients might continue to carry it on places like their skin without it causing illness. Most of the cases have been detected in the New York City area, New Jersey and Chicago area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed 587 cases of the fungus, Candida auris, in March.

The reports reveal about 30-60 percent of patients have died only due to this fungal infection.

That's why human fungal infections have thus far been limited to such irritants as athlete's foot, while plant life and cold-blooded creatures are susceptible to fungi that can harm and kill, Casadevall said.

"We are pretty good at surveilling influenza and diseases that cause diarrhea or are contagious, but fungal diseases are not usually contagious and therefore nobody has really bothered to document them well", he said.

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