A recently-emerged deadly multi drug resistant fungus, Candida auris’, evolved independently on three continents. As Earth's climate heats up, including heat waves in wetlands, we're losing the thermal gap which has protected mammals from fungi. Fungi evolve thermal tolerance fast, and they readily exchange genes with unrelated species.
With a 50% mortality rate in 90 days, meet Candida auris, the first pathogenic fungus caused by human-induced global warming. [subtitle]
Candida auris’ rise is the “first example of a new fungal disease emerging from climate change.
... higher temperatures of the planet are now getting closer to and in some places surpassing the temperature of the human body (37.5 °C), essential threatening our body’s fungal immunity and closing our “thermal restriction zone” that prevents us from being infected.
..., fungi have been shown in directed evolution studies to be able to fairly quickly adapt to higher temperatures through a process called thermal selection. As cities are hotter than the surrounding areas due to the “heat island effect,” by comparing the same species of fungi in both in rural and city locations, scientists were able to clearly demonstrate fungal thermal selection, with the urban strains being more resilient to higher temperatures:
… thermal selection of fungus can happen in a fairly short time period. [emphasis mine]
They also note that because the first case of C. auris came from a human ear, that tells us that it may be in a transition period to being able to live inside our bodies and that its “thermotolerance” is newly acquired. The outside of our body is cooler than the inside and so, we may be on the cusp of this fungi’s thermal adaption to be able to fully survive inside of us, as other candida strains are able to.
As a first step, its emergence might have been linked to global warming (including climactic oscillations) effects on wetlands …
Candida albicans is a different strain of Candida that is drug-resistant and pathogenic to humans and is typically found in the stomach. ..., some is being released by humans through our sewer systems which empty into wetlands and marshes. The marshes are serving as natural reservoirs of C. albicans. Fungi have a powerful evolutionary mechanism that gives them the ability to transfer DNA through plasmid transfer to help out nearby strains. A DNA analsysis for C. auris showed that it had the same virulence attributes of the human pathogenic strain C. albicans, even though it doesn’t share 99.5% of the rest of its genome.
So the danger is that in the wild, various fungi can share the genetic material that provides fungicidal resistance.
Invest in real estate along the piscatorial waters of the laplanders and eskimos.
So it is nice to know that new strains of fungus will have fun among us.