Home WORLD AMERICA Environmental crises favor the emergence of more resistant pathogens

Environmental crises favor the emergence of more resistant pathogens


When news of the Candida Auris outbreak at the Pierre-Boucher Hospital in Longueuil was spreading through the media like the flu in November, the president of the Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment (AQME), the Dr. Claudel Pétrin-Desrosiers, launched a series of messages on Twitter to invite journalists to be careful.

To those who want to cover “the deadly fungus”: I invite you to do so from a scientific, objective point of view. This is NOT an “unexpected” surprise, it is a manifestation of multiple failing elements in the systems around us.she wrote.

The family doctor mentioned that the scientific literature talks a lot about antimicrobial resistance and that this is favored by the use to antibiotic therapy in agriculture and high consumption of antibiotic therapy for uses not indicated.

In addition, Dr. Pétrin-Desrosiers maintains that a large number of diseases and infections take advantage of environmental crises to proliferate. Climate change, destruction of natural habitats and decline in biodiversity would all be aggravating factors.

Some favored species

Mycologist and director of the Center of Excellence for Genetic Research in Infectious and Immune Diseases at the McGill University Health Center (MUHC), Dr. Donald Vinh, explains that any imbalance caused by human activity in nature has consequences the microbial scale.

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When we talk about viruses, microbes, bacteria, yeasts in the environment, each time we cause an imbalance, it allows certain species to have an advantage over others and it could allow the emergence of microbes that are normally infrequent or minimal in a microbial populationdescribes the associate professor of the faculty of medicine at McGill University.

He goes on to say that the use of antibiotics and antifungals in the environment, for agricultural or other activities, can precisely constitute a source of imbalance.

Dr. Vinh also reports that in the specific case of Candida Auris, hypotheses suggest a link between its global proliferation and global warming since it has a tendency to tolerate higher temperatures as well as higher salinity than its similar.

His fellow mycologist associated with the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Center, Dr. Simon F. Dufresne, warns, however, that scientific proof has not been demonstrated regarding the link between Candida Auris resistance and use of antifungals in the environment.

The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (in red)

The fungus Aspergillus fumigatus (in red) is another pathogen that attacks immunocompromised hosts.

Photo: Brendan Snarr/MUHC Research Institute

On the other hand, he recounts a case well known to researchers, that of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, another pathogen that attacks immunocompromised hosts. It first appeared in the Netherlands in the early 2000s before spreading all over the planet thanks to acquired resistance.

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The use of certain fungicides, in agriculture in particular, which are very similar to our antifungal drugs that we use in human medicine, has led to the development of resistance in this fungus that lives in the environmenthe describes.

Patients then began to be infected with more resistant fungiadds the expert.

Federal warning

In a document titled Infectious Diseases and Climate Changeavailable on the federal government’s web portal, warns the public that climate change is likely to promote the spread of infectious diseases.

It is emphasized that the rise in temperatures will cause longer summers and milder winters in addition to leading to a disruption of precipitation. Therefore, pathogens and disease vectors will be able to multiply more easily and migrate or spread to new areas.

This same report recognizes that the loss of biodiversity, soil degradation and the modification of ecosystems are among the factors favorable to infectious diseases of viral, fungal, bacterial or parasitic origin.

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