The Drug Resistant Fungus is caused by Global Warming - Seeker's Thoughts

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Thursday, 8 August 2019

The Drug Resistant Fungus is caused by Global Warming

A fungus known as candida auris has spread rapidly across the globe since it was discovered in Japan 2009 and experts unsure how to stop it from spreading.


The fungus is resistant to antibiotics and has spread in almost 15 countries. The fungus has deadly consequences. 

                                   
                                                              credit- statnews.com

Hospitals in India, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain and a neonatal unit in Venezuela have all fallen victim to the fungus. It has already been li ked to eight deaths in the UK alone. In the US, there are 685 confirmed cases in May, according to the Centres for Disease Control.
The infection enters the bloodstream via wounds and often affects people with weakened immune systems.


Fungus species start adapting to the warmer temperatures

Most fungal species are adapted to living in relatively cool natural environments like the soil and trees. Humans, in comparison, are typically too warm for fungus infections to happen, making such cases rare and limited to only a small percentage of known fungal species.
That may change, however, as the planet becomes warmer and fungus species start adapting to the warmer temperatures. Therefore, it is evident that global warming has increased the chances for humans to fall sick along with other species. 
That’s according to a study led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Arturo Casadevall, MD, Ph.D., who previously published a 2010 paper warning that climate change could spur the rise of more fungal pathogens. 
                                
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Candida auris‘s surprising appearance as a human pathogen appeared in multiple ‘distinct families’ of the fungus that existed separately in different parts of the world.
 This consistent change across continents and the fungus’ seemingly sudden ability to infect humans indicates that Candida auris may be the first fungal species to adapt to a warmer climate and, as a result, become a threat to human health.
As part of their study, the scientists studied a few dozen fungal species, including Candida auris and its closest relatives. 
The temperature range for these species was analyzed and found to be higher for the new Candida auris pathogen impacting humans compared to the other species. It’s unclear how this fungal species development resistance to typical treatments and anti-fungal drugs.
Based on current estimates, between 30- and 60-percent of people infected with candida auris have died as a result.

Drug resistant fungus

Simply put, fungi, just like bacteria, are evolving defences to survive modern medicines.
For decades, public health experts have warned that the overuse of antibiotics was reducing the effectiveness of drugs that have lengthened life spans by curing bacterial infections once commonly fatal. 
But lately, there has been an explosion of resistant fungi as well, adding a new and frightening dimension to a phenomenon that is undermining a pillar of modern medicine.

What is candida auris?
Candida auris is a yeast-like fungus related to candida albicans. The fungus causes invasive infections with a high death rate (about 57%) and causes mainly bloodstream, wound, and ear infections.
Candia auris to be an emerging pathogen that is invasive and multiply drug-resistant in contrast to other fungal disease related to Candida spp; also Candida auris is usually associated in the outbreaks in health care settings like hospitals.
                                                 

Why it is difficult to diagnose?
Candida auris is difficult to diagnose by routine fungal cultures of blood to other body fluids. Special sophisticated molecular methods are needed to identify the fungus, and not all laboratories are able to identify his organism.
People at risk are usually in health care settings and have undergone recent surgery, have a central venous catheter, have diabetes, and/or have undergone broad-spectrum antibiotic and/or antifungal therapy. These fungal infections have been found in all age groups.

A named came from
A review of candida strains and species found the first strain was cultured but not names in 1996 in South Korea.
Candida auris was named because it was yeast-like fungus with biologic properties that fit into the genus candida and was first isolated as an infectious agent from a patient’s ear (auris means “ear” in Latin.
DNA studies of Candida auris globally suggest that strains of this fungus, although similar, emerged independently in world regions at about the same time.
                                        
                                                       credit - zeenews.india.com


Is it contagious?
Candida auris may be weakly contagious. The centers of disease control is continuing studies about the contagiousness of this organism as it has been found on the skin of several patients and on other surfaces in the patient’s rooms.
According to center of disease control, is likely due to contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment or even possibly by direct physical person-to-person contact, but the CDcC is still gathering the data on the spread of this diseases as some people may be carriers this fungus for many months.

How does it spread?
It can be spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated environmental surfaces or equipment, or from person to person.

How did candida auris infection spread globally?
Candida auris infections have been reported from over 20 countries including the US. The regions of eastern Asia, southern Asia, southern Africa, and South America. Whole genome sequencing produces detailed DNA fingerprints of organisms. CDC found that isolates within each region are quite similar to one another, but are relatively different across regions. These differences suggest that candida auris has emerged independently in multiple regions at roughly the same time.

                                              

What are the symptoms?
The symptoms – fever, aches, and fatigue are seemingly ordinary, but when a person gets infected, particularly someone already unhealthy, such commonplace symptoms can be fatal.

                                                       

Is it treatable?
Candida auris infections are treatable with certain antifungal drugs – for example, echinocandins. 
However, the drugs of choice depending on which drugs the fungus is susceptible; this requires a positive identification of the candida auris infecting strain and laboratory determination of the strain’s drug susceptibility.
Some clinical prefers to use more than one antifungal drug to treat these multiple drug resistant invasive organisms.
                                
Conclusion
The World Health Organisation says “New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death.

“Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery (for example, cesarean sections or hip replacements) become very high risk.
“Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally over time, usually through genetic changes. 
However, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are accelerating this process.
In many places, antibiotic overused and misused in people and animals, and often given without professional oversight.
                                     
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