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Heating up the climate may light a fire under fungal diseases

Will global warming make fungal infections a bigger problem for humans?
Fungi usually prefer to keep the thermostat turned down around 12ºC to 30ºC, a bit colder than the human body. This preference for cooler temperatures is part of the reason relatively few fungi have emerged as human pathogens. But the authors of a new Opinions & Hypotheses piece accepted for publication in the inaugural issue of mBio point out that global warming is expected to raise ambient temperatures by 2-5ºC in the coming decades, a trend that could not only step up the evolution of warm-loving fungi, it could also increase the prevalence of pathogenic strains. This is a troubling state of affairs considering that medicine has few antifungal drugs at its disposal and no licensed vaccines for fungal diseases.

The unrevised version of Garcia-Solache and Casadevall is available on the mBio website now. A final, typeset version of the article will appear in the inaugural issue of the online journal in May.

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