The three most frequent and risky infections are: candidiasis, caused by yeasts of the Candida genus; followed by aspergillosis and cryptococcosis. Infobae.
The Last Of Us series, based on the video game of the same name, has aroused public interest in fungi and their effects on human health, however, beyond the fictional scenario, these organisms can represent a problem for human health.
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Fungi are responsible for causing diseases that generate lesions on the skin, nails, hair or allergies, but in addition to these effects, some infections in the blood, brain, lungs and other vital organs can lead to death.
On January 27, 2023, the Universidad del Rosario in Colombia published research on fungi. The document revealed that the diseases caused by these microorganisms are underestimated in the country.
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The leader of the research is the biologist Carolina Firacative, who works as a professor at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at the aforementioned institution. This professional has studied the risk factors of patients with diseases caused by fungal infections in order to determine their impact on human health.
His work is a systematic review entitled Invasive fungal diseases in humans: are we aware of the real impact?, published by the Brazilian institute Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz.
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The text exposes, from epidemiology, that the three most frequent and risky infections are: candidiasis, caused by yeasts of the genus Candida; followed by aspergillosis and cryptococcosis.
“Candida lives with us. If we take a sample from the inside of the cheeks, we will find it there, as well as in the intestine,” said the researcher, adding how this fungus can survive for several hours on surfaces such as shower curtains, screens, medical instruments, or on public transport.
However, Firacative clarified that being in contact with these microorganisms does not cause diseases, because if the immune system is stable, there should be no greater risk. Something similar happens in the case of Cryptococcus and Aspergillus fungi, since they can circulate in heating or air conditioning systems, as well as in nature.
“They are not in our body, but they are in the environment. In general, where there are pigeons or other birds and their feces, Cryptococcus is found. Where there are trees, plant material (foliage, flowers or bark) and in the soil Aspergillus; it can circulate in heating and air conditioning systems”, was stated in the statement from the Universidad del Rosario.
The study Global and multinational prevalence of fungal diseases indicated that worldwide 1.5 million people die each year from these conditions, a figure similar to that caused by tuberculosis.
Despite their prevalence, these infections would not be considered during hospital care, since their registration is not mandatory and, consequently, the available information is not reliable at the local or regional level.
Existing studies for Colombia reported around 755,000 cases in 2017, approximately 600,000 were candidiasis and 130,000 aspergillosis; Based on this information, it was stated that fungal infections are a significant burden for the Colombian health system.
However, most of those affected are hospitalized patients or admitted to the ICU, for example, candida, which appears on the skin, can enter the body if the necessary protocols are not maintained in hospital supplies.
In 2017 around 755,000 cases, of approximately 600,000 were candidiasis and 130,000 aspergillosis. University of Rosario of Colombia.
In the first scene of The Last of Us series, a virologist warns that if the planet’s temperature rises, fungi like cordyceps can mutate, infect humans and control them as they already do with some insects, a scenario that ends with happen and is the argumentative thread of the dramatized.
Firacative cautioned that fungal mutation is a real problem:
“The temperatures are getting higher and the fungi have already begun to adapt to these new conditions. One of the abilities that makes a fungus capable of causing disease is that it can survive in average external temperatures of 40ºC. This means that the 37ºC average human body temperature will no longer be a problem for it,” he explained. the researcher.
Although it is not very likely that a scenario like the one in the series will occur, fungal infections are a real problem for human health, to which the Colombian health system must pay attention.
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