- A man in India went to a doctor for a sore throat that affected his ability to eat and swallow.
- Doctors found an abscess on his throat and it was filled with a fungus usually only found on plants.
- These infections may become more common in humans as the fungus adapts to warmer temperatures.
It sounds like a scene from “The Last of Us” — a fungus never before seen in humans has been discovered growing in a person for the first time.
A plant researcher in India saw a doctor for a sore throat and learned that a fungal infection had grown in his throat, causing an abscess that had to be drained.
Fortunately for him, this was fungi Nothing like Cordyceps Seen on the HBO TV show. Known to horticulturists as silver leaf, it is a progressive disease that causes leaves to turn silver before killing infected branches.
The patient, a 61-year-old man, told doctors he had a long history of working with decaying plant material for research, according to a report published in the journal. Medical mycology case report. He sought medical advice after three months of hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, cough and fatigue.
Silver leaf is a common blight on stone fruit trees and some flowering shrubs, but this is the first time reports have infected a human. When doctors analyzed the man’s pus, they found it had developed a “creamy pasty” fungal colony in a petri dish.
Their test for the fungus infecting humans came back negative, so doctors sent a sample to a local World Health Organization laboratory. DNA sequencing revealed that the fungus was Chondrosterium purpureumThe culprit behind the silver leaf.
Climate change may help fungi adapt to infect humans
After doctors drained the man’s abscess, they sent him on his way with a broad-spectrum antifungal drug. He took two pills a day for 60 days and recovered completely, according to reports.
Although it is relatively rare for a healthy person to be infected by a fungus that normally preys on plants, This has happened before with other types of fungi. According to the case study authors, these infections may become more common As world temperatures rise.
“Global warming and the deterioration of other civilizational activities open a Pandora’s box for new fungal diseases,” they wrote.
Michelle Momani, a professor of plant biology who studies fungi at the University of Georgia, told Insider that a fungus would have to evolve to live in warmer temperatures for it to really spread to humans. “The infection was in the throat, not deep in the lungs where the body temperature is higher,” he said. Momani was not associated with the report on the case.
Even if it is unlikely that the silver leaf will happen A major threat to humans Anytime soon, those who work with fungal spores should take precautions with high-quality masks to avoid inhaling a potential pathogen, he said.
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