A serious medical warning… a brain-eating fungus that turns its victim into a “zombie”?

A parasitic fungus (Cordyceps) is causing concern in the medical community because it turns its victims into zombies when its spores (reproductive cells) enter the body, grow and begin hijacking the mind of its host until it loses control.

And according to what the network transmits “BBC”This mushroom parasite It devours its victim from the inside, extracting all the nutrients from it, as it prepares for the “big end,” and then, in an even more disturbing scene, it explodes and spreads its spores on everything in the place, killing the others with the same zombie fate.

“We are not prepared to deal with a fungal epidemic,” notes Dr Neil Stone, a leading fungi expert at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London.

But for her part, says Dr. Carissa de Becker, a microbiologist at Utrecht University, “Our body temperature is too high for most fungi to settle down and grow well, and this applies to the Cordyceps fungus. And the nervous system of ants is simpler than ours, so it will definitely be easier.” Hijacking an insect’s brain compared to ours, and their immune systems are completely different.”

Most species of the parasitic Cordyceps fungus have evolved over millions of years to specialize in infecting only one type of insect, and most are not transmitted from one insect to another.

“The ability of this fungus to jump from an insect to us and cause an infection is a pretty big leap,” says Dr. de Becker. The threats posed by fungi have long been ruled out. “People see it as trivial or superficial or unimportant,” says Dr. Stone.

The fungus kills about 1.7 million people annually, about three times the number of malaria victims.

Greater lethal threats than cordyceps

The World Health Organization has identified 19 different types of fungi that it believes are of major concern, and in this context, the ‘killer’ Auris fungus, the fungus Mucormycetes, eats our flesh very quickly leading to serious facial infections.

The first to worry the world is the fungus auris, a fermenting fungus associated with breweries, or bread dough. If this fungus enters the body it can invade the blood, nervous system and internal organs. The World Health Organization estimates that up to half of people die if they become infected with the auris fungus.

“It’s a monster that’s been around for the last 15 years or so, but now it’s all over the world,” says Dr. Stone.

The first documented case was in the ear of a patient at the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital in 2009.

auris fungus is resistant to antifungal drugs, and some strains are resistant to all the drugs we have, which is why it is considered a super fungus.

Infection occurs mainly through contaminated surfaces in hospitals where it sticks to intravenous lines and blood pressure cuffs. They are difficult to remove by cleaning, and the solution is often to close the entire wards.

Dr Stone says these fungi are “the most concerning and we ignore them at our peril, and if they break out they could shut down entire healthcare systems”.

Another deadly fungus, Cryptococcus neoformans, is capable of reaching people’s nervous systems and causing devastating meningitis.

What’s in the symptoms?

Sid and Ellie are in the early days of their honeymoon in Costa Rica when Ellie starts to feel ill.

Her initial symptoms were headaches and nausea, which are symptoms of too much sun, but then she started shaking severely and had full-blown seizures. She had to be taken in a boat to get medical help.

“I’ve never seen anything more terrifying,” Syed told me, “especially since I felt so helpless.”

Scans showed swelling in her brain and tests identified Cryptococcus. Fortunately, Ellie responded to treatment. I came out of coma after 12 days of using a ventilator.

“I just remember screaming,” she says. She would hallucinate that she had triplets and that her husband had gambled with their money. “So the first thing I said was, ‘It’s over,'” she says.

Ellie is now recovering well. She says she “never thought” that a fungus could do something like this to a person. “Don’t think you’re going on a honeymoon and almost dying.”

Mucormycetes, also known as black fungus, causes flesh-eating disease. And she has a nickname that reveals her malicious nature.

“When you have a piece of fruit and the next day it turns into mush, it’s because it has mucormycetes in it,” says Dr Rebecca Gorton, a clinical detection scientist at the Health Services Laboratory (HSL) in London. It is rare in humans, she says, but it can be a “really serious infection”.

The black fungus is an opportunist that takes hold in people with weakened immune systems. It attacks the face, eyes, and brain and can be fatal or leave people severely disfigured. And Dr. Gorton warned that infection with this fungus “spreads quickly” in the body, as it happens in fruit or in the laboratory.

During the Covid pandemic, there was an outbreak of black fungus cases in India that caused the death of more than 4,000 people. It is believed that the steroids taken to combat Covid, which weaken the immune system, with high levels of diabetes, have helped the multiplication of this fungus.

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