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Dangerous Fungus Is Becoming More Prevalent in 2023. Scientists Believe Climate Change Could Be To Blame

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SEATTLE — A rare and serious fungal illness that has never been reported in the US was discovered in 2016 by hospitals in New York. The fungus had been present in the nation since at least 2013, according to research laboratories that sprang into action to evaluate previous specimens.

Since then, New York City has become the epicenter of Candida auris infections. And even though the virus has spread to other locations, the state continued to have the most confirmed cases in the nation each year up to 2021, according to data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that The Associated Press examined.

An increasingly serious public health risk, Candida auris, can lead to serious illnesses such as bloodstream, wound, and respiratory infections. Its death rate has been estimated at 30% to 60%, and it poses a significant concern to patients with major medical conditions in healthcare facilities.

Although patients in 29 states had the fungus clinically recognized, Nevada and California were the states with the most instances last year. The state of New York is still a key hotspot.

Because most fungal pathogens cannot survive the body temperatures of mammals, including humans, most infections have historically been prevented. However, as temperatures rise, fungi may become tolerant of warmer settings, and people may eventually become less resistant. According to some studies, Candida auris is already undergoing this.

The pathogen appeared on three continents by accident 14 years ago in Venezuela, India, and South Africa. Arturo Casadevall, a microbiologist, immunologist, and professor at Johns Hopkins University specializing in fungus diseases, said this was surprising given how diverse the weather in these locations is.


Dangerous Fungus Is Becoming More Prevalent. Scientists Believe Climate Change Could Be To Blame

“Due to our warmth, we have an excellent defense against environmental fungus. However, some fungi will cross the temperature barrier if the planet continues to warm, and they have higher temperature tolerances, too, according to Casadevall, referring to how mammals’ warm body temperatures historically safeguarded them.

The instances of Candida auris were initially connected to patients who had traveled to the United States from other countries, according to Meghan Marie Lyman, a CDC medical epidemiologist for the mycotic diseases branch. Nowadays, most infections are picked up locally and typically spread among patients in medical settings.

2,377 confirmed clinical cases were detected in the United States last year, up more than 1,200% over 2017. However, Candida auris is spreading throughout the world. According to a survey conducted last year, case counts in Europe roughly doubled between 2020 and 2021.

Lyman noted that while “the number of cases has increased,” so has the geographic spread. While screens and surveillance have improved, she pointed out that the soaring case numbers show a rise.

The CDC cited two factors in a news release in March to highlight the severity of the pathogen’s resistance to conventional antifungal treatments and the alarming rate of its spread. Public health organizations primarily concentrate on urgent transmission mitigation techniques in healthcare settings.

They’re attempting to put out an active fire, according to Lyman.

Candida auris, according to Dr. Luis Ostrosky, an infectious diseases professor at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, is “kind of our nightmare scenario.”

He described the infection as potentially multi-drug resistant and capable of spreading quickly in medical facilities. This pathogen is unique to the field of fungal infections.


Dangerous Fungus Is Becoming More Prevalent. Scientists Believe Climate Change Could Be To Blame

It is almost always resistant to the most popular class of antifungal drugs and occasionally to another drug typically prescribed for serious catheter fungal infections in hospitals.

There have been instances where I’ve had to sit down with the family and inform them that no treatment is available for their loved one who has an infection, according to Ostrosky.

About ten patients with the fungus were treated by Ostrotsky, but many more received his advice. He claimed to have witnessed it spread throughout an entire ICU in two weeks.

Theories that explain the emergence of Candida auris are being discussed and looked at by academics, researchers, and public health organizations. According to Ostrosky, the most widely recognized theory is climate change.

According to Lyman of the CDC, it’s likely that the fungus has always been present among the bacteria that inhabit the human body but that no one looked into it until it suddenly started posing health risks because it wasn’t causing infection. She added that there have been reports of the fungus in the natural environment, such as soil and wetlands, but that environmental sampling has been sparse, and it is not known whether these findings result from human activity.

The author added that there are many unanswered questions regarding human touch and nature’s encroachment, as well as numerous environmental changes and the use of fungi in agriculture. “These factors might have enabled Candida auris to spread its niche or flee into a new environment.”

According to researchers, the fungus poses a serious hazard to human health, regardless of where and how it came from. The most vulnerable individuals are immunocompromised in hospitals, but long-term care facilities and nursing homes are also in danger since they typically have less access to diagnostics and infection control specialists.

Not only is Candida auris tough to diagnose, but it is also challenging to treat. Due to its rarity, many doctors must know that it even exists.

Sepsis, fever, and low blood pressure are all common signs of infection, and each of these conditions can have a variety of causes. A blood test is used to identify the fungus. Blood is put into a nutrient-rich medium to encourage growth and increase the detection of any infectious organisms.


Dangerous Fungus Is Becoming More Prevalent. Scientists Believe Climate Change Could Be To Blame

However, ostrosky points out that this misses around 50% of the situations. He added that although there is more recent equipment that enhances bloodstream detection, it is pricey and not frequently used in hospitals. “Our gold standard is a little bit better than flipping a coin,” he said.

Beyond the rise in incidence, popular culture has contributed to a greater public understanding of fungus infections. The drama “The Last of Us” on HBO centers on those who survive a fungus outbreak. It may be science fiction to have a fungus that can turn people into zombies, but combating climate change, which is changing the types of diseases that pose a major threat to human health, is a genuine challenge.

“I think the way to think about how global warming is putting selection pressure on microbes is to think about how many more really hot days we are experiencing,” said Johns Hopkins researcher Casadevall. “Each day at (100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37.7 degrees Celsius) provides a selection event for all microbes affected—and the more days when high temperatures are experienced, the greater probability that some will adapt and survive.”

“We’ve been flying under the radar in mycology for decades because fungal infections didn’t used to be frequently seen,” said Ostrosky of UTHealth Houston.


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Canadian Mother And Twins Charged With Pretending To Be Inuit

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Three Canadian women have been charged with impersonating Inuit to receive benefits from indigenous organizations.

Two sisters, aged 25, allegedly committed fraud by posing as adopted Inuit children.

The two sisters and their 59-year-old mother face two counts of fraud. One Inuit group described the alleged deception as “shocking.”

On October 30, the defendants are scheduled to appear in court in Iqaluit.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) stated in a statement that Amira and Nadya Gill, along with their mother Karima Manji, defrauded two local organizations of “funds that are only available to Inuit beneficiaries by obtaining grants and scholarships” between October 2016 and September 2022.

As part of the Nunavut Agreement, a 1993 indigenous land claim settlement, members of Canada’s Inuit community in the sparsely populated northern territory are eligible for grants and scholarships.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., or NTI, which represents Inuits in the territory, oversees the registration of indigenous classification.

NTI stated in a March statement that it had become “aware of possible fraudulent enrollment” of the Gill sisters after Ms. Manji claimed they were adopted and identified an Inuk woman as their birth mother.


Three Canadian women have been charged with impersonating Inuit to receive benefits from indigenous organizations.

They stated that the instance was a “first of its kind” in the organization’s enrollment program’s history.

The three Ontario residents were removed from the NTI’s list of beneficiaries, and the matter was referred to the RCMP following an investigation.

Kitty Noah, the woman identified by the Gills as their birth mother, stated before her demise in July that she was unrelated to the twins.

In 2021, the sisters Gill, both Ontario’s Queen’s University graduates, launched an online business selling facial masks with designs by indigenous artists.

In an interview with Canadian broadcaster CBC, NTI President Aluki Kotierk stated that the Gill sisters and their mother should “at a minimum” refund the money they received from Inuit organizations.

HE ADDED THAT the NTI will conduct additional training for enrollment committees in the future.

Mr. Kotierk described the alleged fraud as “another form of colonization” and part of a larger trend of non-indigenous Canadians claiming indigenous ancestry.

He stated, “You wanted to take our language from us.” “You intended to strip us of our culture. Are you now attempting to assume our identity? It is simply astounding.”

In a statement, the NTI referred to the incident as “isolated” and stated that it was fortifying enrollment requirements by requiring applicants to submit a copy of their long-form birth certificate.


Three Canadian women have been charged with impersonating Inuit to receive benefits from indigenous organizations.

In addition to the funds provided by the Kakivak Association and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, claiming indigenous status enabled the siblings to receive scholarships from Indspire, a Canadian indigenous charity, Hydro One, and the Royal Bank of Canada.

Before 2021, scholarship applicants could self-identify as indigenous, according to a Royal Bank of Canada spokesperson, but the requirements have since been updated.

The BBC has sought comment from Indspire and Hydro One.

Some Canadians have used “pretendians” to refer those who fraudulently claim indigenous ancestry.

Jean Teillet, a member of the Métis indigenous community, told Global News that the term “sounds harmless” minimizes the gravity of the issue.

“I prefer to call it fraud because the definition of fraud is intentional deception to obtain a material gain, and that’s what we’re talking about here.”

The three accused women were not readily accessible for comment.



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Tropical Storm Ophelia Moves Inland Over North Carolina As Coastal Areas Lashed With Wind And Rain

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ANNAPOLIS, Maryland — After making landfall near Emerald Isle early Saturday morning, Tropical Storm Ophelia swirled across North Carolina, lashing eastern portions of the state with rain, damaging winds, and hazardous water surges.

The storm landed at 6:15 a.m. with near-hurricane-force winds of 70 mph (110 kph) but was anticipated to weaken as it turned north Saturday and then shifted northeast on Sunday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Centre.

As of Friday, Ophelia is churning up the East Coast at approximately 13 mph (21 kph), bringing windy conditions and torrential rainfall for the weekend. Through Sunday, portions of North Carolina and Virginia may receive up to 7 inches (18 centimeters) of precipitation, with 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) predicted for the remainder of the mid-Atlantic region.

Philippe Papin, a hurricane expert at the National Hurricane Centre, stated that the primary risk posed by the storm system over the next few days will be the possibility of flooding precipitated by the rain.

“Tropical storm-force winds have been observed, but they are beginning to gradually diminish as the system moves further inland,” Papin said in an early Saturday interview. However, in the next 12 to 24 hours, a substantial portion of eastern North Carolina and southern Virginia is at risk for flooding precipitation.

Several eastern North Carolina counties had tens of thousands of residences and businesses without power as of Saturday morning, according to, which monitors utility reports.


Tropical Storm Ophelia swirled across North Carolina, lashing eastern portions of the state with rain, damaging winds, and hazardous water surges.

Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, told WTVD-TV on Saturday, “When you have a slow-moving storm with several inches of rain and a wind gust of 30, 40 miles per hour, that’s enough to bring down a tree or limbs.” “This has been the case in the majority of areas where we have experienced outages.”

From Bogue Inlet, North Carolina, to Chincoteague, Virginia, a storm surge warning was issued indicating the threat of rising ocean water forced inland by Ophelia. In some locations, waves of 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) were predicted. The area from Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Fenwick Island, Delaware, was issued a storm warning.

On Friday, each of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland governors declared a state of emergency. Several institutions closed early, and several weekend activities were canceled. The Washington Nationals baseball contest scheduled for Saturday was postponed until Sunday. Until conditions improve, the North Carolina Ferry System suspended service on all routes until conditions improve.


Tropical Storm Ophelia swirled across North Carolina, lashing eastern portions of the state with rain, damaging winds, and hazardous water surges.

Nancy Shoemaker and her husband Bob picked up sandbags in a park in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, on Friday. In October of last year, a storm surge swept away the sandbags they had placed in their yard, which is adjacent to the water.

Nancy Shoemaker stated, “We’re hoping that won’t happen this time.” “If we have a lot of wind and a lot of surge, it can look like the ocean out there, so that’s a problem.”

Michael Brennan, director of the National Hurricane Centre, stated that it is not unusual for one or two tropical cyclones or hurricanes to form annually off the East Coast.

Brennan stated in a Friday interview, “We’re at the height of hurricane season, and storms can form virtually anywhere in the Atlantic basin.”

According to scientists, climate change could result in hurricanes expanding their reach into mid-latitude regions more frequently, making cyclones like Hurricane Lee more frequent.

One study simulated tropical cyclone trajectories from the pre-industrial and modern eras and a future with increased emissions. It was discovered that hurricanes would track closer to the coastal, including around Boston, New York, and Virginia, and form more frequently along the Southeast coast.


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2023: Canada Gets Muted Allied Support After Alleging India May Have Been Involved In Killing Of Canadian

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TORONTO, Ontario, Canada — When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood up in Parliament and suggested that India was involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen, the international response was quiet.

India appears to be too powerful to be alienated.

None of Canada’s most key allies — the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, which are all intimately woven together in the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing agreement — reiterated Trudeau’s charges.

They’ve expressed their concern. They have demanded thorough investigations. However, none condemned India for its suspected role in assassinating a Sikh separatist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, on Canadian soil in June.


There is China, and the objective among allies is to strengthen ties with India as a counterweight to Beijing’s expanding influence and aggression.

But it goes beyond that. Many observers estimate that by 2030, modern India’s economy will have surpassed Japan and Germany to become the world’s third-largest. With over 1.4 billion people and one of the world’s largest militaries, it has emerged as a key player in international affairs.


This makes it difficult for Canada’s key allies, some of India’s main partners, to speak out loudly.

“I think Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom did about what was expected,” said Janice Stein, a political scientist at Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

According to Sushant Singh, a senior scholar at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, “as long as the West needs India to counter China, it is likely to look away.”

On Monday, Trudeau claimed there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in killing 45-year-old Nijjar outside Vancouver by masked gunmen, whom India had wanted for years. In addition, Canada expelled an Indian diplomat.

A day later, after India escalated the conflict by dismissing a top Canadian envoy, Trudeau softened his approach, telling reporters that Canada was “not looking to provoke or escalate.”

“PM tempers criticism as allies decline to condemn India over slain Sikh leader,” read the main page of Canada’s The Globe and Mail newspaper on Wednesday.


The claims made by the government are especially troubling for the United Kingdom, which is negotiating a free trade agreement with India.

“These are grave allegations.” “It is appropriate for Canadian authorities to investigate them,” said Max Blain, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spokesman.

However, he stated unequivocally that the death will not be discussed during the trade talks, stating that “these are negotiations about a trade deal, and we are not looking to conflate with other issues.”

According to Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly, Trudeau discussed the assassination with Sunak and US Vice President Joe Biden in recent weeks.

If the allies’ reactions were subdued, Joly’s office and the White House refuted news reports that Canada had lobbied the US and other major allies to denounce the assassination in the days before Trudeau made his claims.

According to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, any rumors that the United States had rejected Canada were “just flatly false.”

“We were deeply concerned by Prime Minister Trudeau’s allegations and remain in regular contact with our Canadian partners,” Kirby added. “They’re investigating, and that should continue unabated.”


However, he noted that the US-India partnership “remains vitally important, not only for the South Asia region but, of course, for the Indo Pacific.”

Nonetheless, the Biden administration provides more spiritual support than real backing. It may want to keep matters bilateral between Ottawa and New Delhi.

“It’s embarrassing” for Washington, according to historian and University of Toronto professor Robert Bothwell. However, “the United States has larger interests.”

If Trudeau’s allegations are true, it demonstrates that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is not “restrained by an innate sense of the rule of law or a commitment to democracy.”

“This is the same kind of thing that Putin does,” he said, alluding to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adversaries who have been slain in Russia and abroad, including in the United Kingdom.

Najjar, born in India and had worked as a plumber in Canada for many years, was assassinated in the parking lot of a Sikh temple in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb. He was wanted by Indian police, who had long suspected him of having ties to separatist terrorists aiming to establish an independent Sikh republic within India. While advocating for a Sikh nation, Nijjar continually denied any links to terrorism.

Canada has failed to present proof of India’s involvement in the murder. However, a US official said Tuesday that the White House interpreted Trudeau’s willingness to come out as an indication of the Canadian leader’s confidence in what had been discovered. The official, who was not authorized to publicly comment, spoke on the condition of anonymity.


Canada is one of the few countries unapologetically supporting human rights and the international rule of law. It also has no qualms about confronting major powers.

China-Canada ties, for example, took a hit in 2018 after China imprisoned former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor. These arrests happened shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder and the company’s top financial officer. The arrest was done at the request of US officials, who accused Meng of fraud.

Even after a prisoner swap in which China released the Canadians in exchange for Meng in 2021, relations have not improved.

In addition, after Canada’s foreign ministry tweeted support for a jailed Saudi activist, the Saudi government removed Canada’s ambassador to the kingdom and withdrew its envoy. It took five years for Canada and Saudi Arabia to reestablish full diplomatic relations in May of this year.

Trudeau also clashed with former US President Donald Trump, who pledged to make Canada pay after Trudeau declared that he would not be bullied in trade talks with the US. Trump retaliated by criticizing Trudeau, calling him “meek and mild,” which surprised Canadians.

The stakes have risen, and it’s uncertain — at least publicly — who Canada can rely on for unwavering support.

“Is Canada alone?” Bothwell wondered. “That is obviously a concern because Canada has always relied on the protection of the British and then the Americans.”


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