A feline fungus joins the new species list

Cats and immune-compromised people have died in Australia from a new fungus. Inhaled spores grow, spread, and cause tumor like growths in the eye.

... a completely new species, Aspergillus felis, which can cause virulent disease in humans and cats by infecting their respiratory tract.

Since the first sighting of the new species, more than 20 sick domestic cats from around Australia and one cat from the United Kingdom have been diagnosed with the fungus.

The fungus appears to infect otherwise healthy cats but in the two humans identified it attacked an already highly compromised immune system.

The disease is not passed between humans and cats...

There is only a 15 percent survival rate of cats with the disease and it has so far proved fatal in humans. To date only one case has been identified in a dog.

"We are right at the start of recognising the diseases caused by this fungus in animals and humans. The number of cases may be increasing in frequency or it may just be we are getting better at recognising them," Dr Barrs said.

I can't help but wonder if the hotter, drier, dustier conditions resulting from Climate Destabilization are creating a favorable environment for this emerging disease.

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I read the article, and it doesn't look good. And I can't help but wonder how many other diseases will mutate and become lethal as a result of climate destabilization -- microbes can mutate far faster than us larger beasties can, and major die-offs may well happen. I've already heard science types talking about this being the 6th major extermination event, and the only one that's been caused by humans (because we weren't around for the other ones). And even if somehow the whole world got its act together tomorrow, I suspect it's already too late. And I'm not usually pessimistic!




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