After Covid-19, will fungi be the source of our next pandemic – read report

California: The focus on viruses as our next pandemic source may divert attention from other serious microbial threats. We know a great deal about the benefits of fungi, including the production of antibiotics such as brewer’s yeast, mushrooms, Roquefort cheese and penicillin. But we know little about the threats posed by fungi to global health, such as those that emerged or re-emerged during the current pandemic.

COVID-19 raised international awareness of the dangers posed by zoonotic viruses, which jump from animals to humans. But focusing only on viruses runs the risk of diverting attention and resources from other microbial threats, particularly pathogenic fungi.

There were reports of severe cases of COVID-19 and severe fungal infections in patients who had recovered from the virus in mid-2021. Patients were diagnosed with a respiratory infection from a mold called aspergillosis; invasive yeast infection; and, particularly in India, a serious but rare fungal infection, mucormycosis, which causes long-term severe illness and death.

Fungi are among the most diverse and versatile organisms on our sloping planet Earth.
In the southwestern United States, and in Central and South America, the fungal pathogen that causes valley fever, coccidioidomycosis, has long been recognized as a threat to animals and people because it is commonly found in soil. goes. There has been a steady increase in cases of valley fever in the southwestern United States, where it has been considered endemic for more than a decade.

But the geographic scale of vulnerable populations is expanding as climate change increases sandy desert areas where the fungus, Coccidioides immitis, grows.

People develop valley fever when they breathe in dust from soil that contains fungal spores. Climate change causes frequent droughts, which produce more dust, and earthquakes cause building construction to spread dust more widely. Together, these factors increase people’s susceptibility to valley fever.

Ensuring people know how climate change can affect their health is an important strategy to raise public awareness and inspire political action. The US state of California has been a major case study in the investigation of epidemic threats posed by fungal pathogens, particularly the fungus that causes valley fever and its response to climate change.

The availability of epidemiological and climate data, and an understanding of the social vulnerabilities of the population, have helped to raise public awareness and target at-risk groups.

Candida auris, a multidrug-resistant yeast that causes invasive infection and death, is one of the most urgent threats of a new pathogen-driven pandemic. It may be the first example of a new deadly pathogen emerging from human-induced climate change, appearing simultaneously on three continents, which can only be explained by large-scale environmental change.

First identified in 2009, Candida auris is not known to be transmitted directly from person to person. But its persistence in environmental settings, on surfaces and everyday objects, suggests that it is capable of spreading rapidly in hospital settings and natural ecosystems.

Candida auris is an emerging poster pathogen for the One Health approach, which considers the impact of the shared environment between humans and animals and the better coordination of local and international strategies for epidemic prevention and response.

Strictly enforced restrictions on the use of antimicrobials (agents that kill microorganisms) in agriculture, such as antifungal treatments; Integrated monitoring of animal populations, human populations and environmental systems; And a global health education that begins at the community level could help break away from the cycle of fungal zoonotic diseases, especially as human populations continue to grow against a backdrop of climate change.

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