A2.2: Microbes in the News

Article and Link:

A Mysterious Infection Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy

The rise of Candida auris embodies a serious and growing public health threat: drug-resistant germs.

By Matt Richtel and Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times on April 6, 2019

Medical illustration of fluconazole-resistant Candida

Image From: https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/biggest_threats.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/06/health/drug-resistant-candida-auris.html

Summary:

The authors write a lengthy article identifying the spread of drug-resistant Candida auris  infections around the globe. There are links, graphics, and descriptions of why antibiotic resistance is a concern, and what roles pesticides, fungicides, and agriculture play in the spread of drug-resistant microbes. The article does include lengthy discussion on the lack of publicity regarding drug resistant infections, especially in hospital settings, with C. auris infections as the focal example.

Connections:

In lecture, we have addressed each of the antibiotic resistance concerns identified in this article (see summary), although lecture contained more emphasis on drug-resistant bacteria than on drug-resistant fungi.

Critical Analysis:

This article really struck home for me, as my son is serving in Kuwait, where there have been numerous fatalities linked to this infection. While less scientific in nature, the almost sensationalist tone of the article was effective in this context. Once concern or interest is evoked in the reader, the numerous links and embedded videos provide a great deal of information. Despite the likely biased perspective, I could not find any inaccurate information in the written article. It was not written with much scientific lingo, and was geared toward the average, non-science-minded individual. I’m undecided if the article crosses a line into editorial territory, as there were certainly links to creditable sources. As a whole, it may run the risk of being dismissed as an opinion piece.

Question:

We’ve discussed mechanisms for the development of drug-resistance in bacteria. Are the mechanisms used by fungi very different? If so, how?

Reference:

Khan, Z., et. al. (2018, June 14). Invasive Candida auris infections in Kuwait hospitals: epidemiology, antifungal treatment and outcome.  Infection,  2018, Oct: 46 (5).

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