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New theory: spread of Candida auris through global warming
The spread of the yeast Candida auris is a growing health hazard worldwide. In the worst case scenario, the Pils can cause inflammation of the brain, heart or blood poisoning, which is life-threatening for those affected. Researchers have now linked the spread of the fungus to global warming and put forward a new hypothesis for the dramatic spread of the dangerous yeast.
The yeast was only discovered ten years ago. According to the knowledge gained so far, it originated in different genetic variants simultaneously in India, South Africa and South America and has since spread worldwide at a rapid pace. A research team from the USA and the Netherlands has now presented a new theory for the origin and spread of the dangerous fungus in the specialist magazine "mBio". This could be the first example of a new fungal disease that is directly attributable to climate change.
Health authorities warn of Candida auris
For some time now, health authorities worldwide have been warning of the spread of the yeast Candida auris, which is resistant to most of the antifungals available to date and can cause life-threatening infections. About three years ago, clinics in the United States were asked to conduct more drug-resistant yeast testing to better control the spread. Although the yeast was only occasionally detected in Germany until 2017, the Robert Koch Institute in Germany also called for increased controls two years ago. The spread of the fungus is a considerable risk, especially in clinics and care facilities.
Fungal infections are usually harmless to humans
They are usually fungal infections
rather rare in humans and no particular health risk. "Mammals have a more advanced immune system than other organisms, and most fungi in the environment can't grow at human body temperatures," said Arturo Casadevall of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the authors of the current study. But Candida auris seems to be an exception here.
Candida auris grows at higher temperatures
In the current study, the research team compared Candida auris to its closest relatives and found that the new yeast can grow at higher temperatures. This could not only explain the increased risk of infection in humans, but also point to a connection with global warming as it develops. "The mysterious thing is that Candida auris appeared on three different continents at the same time, and it's very difficult to explain," emphasizes Casadevall. A common change must have taken place here, with the result that the organism was released into the air and caused disease.
Simultaneous development on several continents
Based on the consideration that the first infections occurred simultaneously on different continents in different societies with different population groups, the researchers asked themselves which common factor could have caused this. "They have one thing in common: the world is getting warmer", Casadevall sums up the basic assumption. In the current study, it has now been confirmed that Candida auris actually grows at higher temperatures than other yeasts, which suggests a connection between its spread and global warming.
Other factors are also important
However, the researchers point out that in addition to climate change, numerous other factors may have played a role in the spread of Candida auris. For example, with the widespread use of antifungal agents and the use of fungicides in agriculture, a connection with the development and spread of the resistant yeast is suspected. However, the fact that the fungus grows at higher temperatures than its peers is a surprising new detail, which in the future may help to decipher the mystery surrounding the development and spread of Candida auris. (fp)
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Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
- Casadevall, Arturo; Kontoyiannis, Dimitrios P .; Robert, Vincent: On the Emergence of Candida auris: Climate Change, Azoles, Swamps, and Birds; in mBio July 2019, 10 (4), mBio