Are Fungus and Bacterial Infections on the Verge of Becoming an Epidemic?

CNN reported on a fungus that is making global headlines, again. Candida auris. This strain of fungus poses a threat for hospital patients with a weakened immune system, as do most superbugs that are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotic treatment.

Candida Auris was first reported in 2009 in a 70-year old woman in Tokyo. Since discovered, cases have been reported in more than 30 countries including the United States, Australia, India, Germany, Israel, Venezuela, and South Africa CNN reported on April 10, 2019.

This fungus has evolved and is showing up as different strains in various countries. As bugs infect us, they meet other bugs, connect and comingle or mate according to this nano physicist’s TEDx talk. The bugs then attack the body, mutate, and become resistant in their battle to take over a territory or someone’s immune system.

Typically superbugs are smart and in the form of bacteria. Candida auris is a fungus acting as a bacteria, but not believed to be an epidemic threat.

Professor Paul Tambyah of the Department of Medicine, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said the fungus is not a danger to the general population.

“So far, most of the cases have occurred in patients with weakened immune systems such as very low birthweight premature infants, the elderly who have had complicated surgery, or patients undergoing chemotherapy,”

he told The New Paper, adding that there is almost no chance of it becoming a Sars-type epidemic.

According to the CDC, C. auris can travel through health care facilities by lingering on surfaces and medical equipment, or it can spread directly from one person to another.

It is estimated that by 2050 there will be 10 million additional deaths annually due to the growing problem of superbugs, according to this TEDx talk.

Bacteria are a threat, especially with growing resistance. Hospital-acquired infections are on the rise; perhaps it is time to change our approach in the battle against them.