Could climate change have contributed to Candida auris emergence?

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New research has suggested that the emergence of Candida auris could be a result of global warming, which may have forced C. auris clades to adapt to higher temperatures. In humans the high core body temperature usually serves as protection against fungal infections, thus this adaptation could have made it easier for C. auris to infect humans.

C. auris was first isolated in an elderly patient in Japan in 2009 but has since been reported in hospital outbreaks across the globe. C. auris’ emergence was sudden, occurring simultaneously among several genetically distinct clades of the fungus on several different continents, an unusual feature.

In this study, the researchers analyzed the temperature range for C. auris and some close relatives, discovering that C. auris was able to grow at higher temperatures when compared with the other fungi, suggesting this ability might have been acquired recently.

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