Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

There are lots The things in this world that can keep you awake at night. Of course there are Covid-19s, but if you’re as concerned as I am, you can probably get away with a very long list of extra fears: being hit by a car, cancer, food poisoning at an unattended gas station, getting caught in a fire. , Electrify yourself and plug your laptop into a disguised cafe. But the one that is probably not high on your list is the fungus. Unfortunately, that may change.

In 2009, a patient in Japan developed a new fungal infection in their ear. Highly contagious Candida Oris The fungus was previously unknown to science (and resistant to drugs available to treat it), but within a few years, cases began to emerge in Venezuela, Iran, Russia, and South Africa.

Scientists assumed that the spread was due to human travel, but when they made the cases sequentially, they were surprised that these strains were not closely related. Instead, scientists were looking at multiple, independent infections of an unknown fungal disease, emerging at the same time around the world. About one third of people are infected Candida Oris Died of infection within 30 days, and now there are thousands of cases in 47 countries. Some scientists believe that this sudden emergence in the global arena is a haven for things ahead.

People should consider We are lucky that they do not have to constantly worry about fungal infections. “If you’re a tree, you’ll be afraid of fungi,” he says Dr. Arturo Casadeval, A Johns Hopkins University microbiologist who studies fungal diseases. And if you’re a fish, a reptile, or an amphibian, fungi will be on your list of fears too, if you can count them. (Fungal infections are known to wipe out snakes, fish, corals, insects, and more.) In recent years, a fungal infection has been called Batracocitrium dendrobatidis (chytrid) Destroyed amphibian populations around the world, with Some scientists are speculating That chytrid is responsible for the population decline of more than 500 amphibian species. In fact, it is one of every 16 amphibian species known to science.

One of the reasons why fungal infections are so common in many animals is that the fungus itself is ubiquitous. “I’m dating you, but do you know the sting song” Every Breath You Take? ” “They’ve reached the space station. They’re absolutely everywhere.”

People can and do become infected with the fungus (athlete’s foot, for starters, and fungal diseases are one of the leading causes of death for immunocompromised people infected with HIV). But people are usually less likely to fall into the fungus for one big reason: people are hot. (Although, if you want to be a pedant at a party, you can enjoy learning that people are not normal, in fact, the most commonly quoted is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This number comes from a German study done in 1851. In fact, the human body temperature seems to have cooled down recently.) , And the global average is between 97.5 and 97.9 degrees Fahrenheit.) The warm-blooded environment, in general, tends to be too hot for a fungus to survive. A study by Cassadeval has estimated That 95 percent of fungal species cannot survive at average human internal temperatures.

When you look at hibernated animals you can effectively see this temperature barrier, which needs to lower their internal temperature in order to survive the winter. Bats, for example, have recently suffered a massive decline due to White nose syndrome, Which infects them when they hibernate and is therefore colder than usual.

For Cassadeval, these findings support his theory of the long history of fauna with fungi. He argues that perhaps our warm-blooded nature has been specially developed to avoid the type of fungal infections that can wipe out cold-blooded populations.

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