The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning about a potentially fatal fungus that is spreading across US hospitals and nursing homes, reports nypost.com.
The fungus, called Candida auris, is resistant to most antifungal drugs and can cause serious infections in people with weakened immune systems. According to the CDC, more than 1,000 cases of Candida auris have been reported in 12 states since 2019, with nearly half of them resulting in death.
Candida auris is not a new fungus; it was first identified in Japan in 2009 and has since been detected in more than 40 countries. However, its emergence and spread in the US is alarming because it poses a serious threat to public health and healthcare facilities.
Candida auris can persist on surfaces and equipment for long periods of time, making it difficult to eradicate. It can also cause outbreaks among patients and staff, especially in settings where infection control measures are inadequate or not followed.
The CDC has classified Candida auris as an urgent threat and has urged healthcare providers to be vigilant for signs and symptoms of infection, such as fever, chills, fatigue, pain, redness or swelling at wound sites or catheter insertion points.
The CDC has also recommended that healthcare facilities implement strict protocols for screening, testing, isolation and treatment of patients with suspected or confirmed Candida auris infections.
While Candida auris may seem like a novel phenomenon, it is actually part of a larger trend of emerging fungal pathogens that are becoming more resistant to existing drugs.
Fungi are ubiquitous organisms that live on plants, animals and humans. They can cause various diseases ranging from mild skin infections to life-threatening systemic infections. Fungi can also produce toxins that can harm humans and animals.
One of the main reasons why fungi are becoming more resistant to drugs is the widespread use and misuse of antifungal agents in agriculture, medicine and industry.
Antifungal agents are used to prevent or treat fungal infections in crops, livestock, pets and humans. However, overuse or inappropriate use of these agents can lead to the selection and proliferation of resistant strains of fungi that can evade or overcome the effects of the drugs.
Another reason why fungi are becoming more resistant to drugs is climate change. Climate change can alter the environmental conditions that affect fungal growth and survival.
For example, higher temperatures, humidity levels and carbon dioxide concentrations can favor some fungi over others. Climate change can also increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and storms that can disrupt ecosystems and create opportunities for fungal invasion and transmission.
This scenario may sound familiar to fans of The Last of Us, a video game developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.
The game is set in 2033, twenty years after a fungal pandemic caused by Cordyceps, a genus of parasitic fungi that infect insects and manipulate their behavior to spread their spores.
And so, it just so happened that the plot of the series began to take root in life. The story there begins just with a fungal infection that hit the world, which is rather strange – usually all plots around zombies revolve around a virus.
And now the CDC is writing about some kind of fungus that kills one in three. At the same time, what happens to the first and second is still unknown. It is possible that the fungus does not kill them, but simply slightly changes something in the brain.
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