How to Confront a “Super Fungus” In An Increasingly Pathogen-Friendly World
From time to time, I try to use this blog as an opportunity to introduce and discuss the latest news topics concerning mold/fungus and human health that come onto the scene and temporarily dominate mainstream media platforms. These stories seem to pop-up overnight, consume headlines and social media feeds, and then disappear without warning or explanation, leaving all of us wondering if we still need to be concerned and vigilant. This is going to be one of those posts, because it is important to me to formally address the news of the “recently-discovered,” rapidly-emerging fungal pathogen, or “Super Fungus,” Candida auris.
Before I get into the details, I want to be clear as to why I decided to write about Candida auris when the topic has already been covered ad nauseam: It is my opinion that most current stories on Candida auris generate a climate of increased fear and confusion surrounding how and why the pathogen spreads, our inability to eliminate it with standard antifungal drugs and treatment, and the high fatality rates of those infected. And while, those are definitely some of the hard facts about this fungus, Candida and other fungal infections have been around for centuries causing sickness and high mortality rates for systemic infection, but for some reason, just haven’t been given the focus, the importance, or the same “billing” as their bacterial and viral counterparts. This has been especially true in the medical community. For example, just think about how many times you have walked out of a doctor’s office with a prescription for a broad-spectrum antibiotic. Did they take a culture and identify the specific pathogen before writing the prescription? On the other hand, how many times has a doctor mentioned the possibility of fungal source when you have been sick or has prescribed an antifungal? Not many, right? Thus, I thought it might be helpful for me clear things up and to demystify Candida auris by focusing only on information that is evidence- and scientific-study based, so that I can bring you an easy-to-digest, and hopefully relatable take on the story. I also believe that when anything fungal is causing acute sickness to humans, especially at the magnitude of Candida auris, I would be missing the mark not to discuss some basic connections between the emergence of an increasingly virulent yeast and why we are becoming so vulnerable to it.