Researchers warn that the fungus Candida auris may begin to pose a serious global public health threat as climate change makes it adjust to warmer temperatures.
Though some fungi can cause illness in humans, like yeast infections or athlete’s foot, most fungi that cause serious illnesses can’t grow in people because human body temperatures are too warm. Now, the warming climate is allowing candida auris to grow in humans, make it the first fungal disease caused by climate change, according to Arturo Casadevall, chair of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins.
Candida auris is already resistant to multiple drugs, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warns that it poses a serious threat to people with weakened immune systems, those who have had lines or tubes in their bodies, people who have recently had surgery and people taking certain medications.
The fungus causes aggressive, life-threatening infections to the blood, heart, brain, eyes and bones, and it is associated with high death rates because it is innately immune to many antifungal drugs.