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‘A growing threat to human health’: we are ill-equipped for the dangers of fungal infections

About 2 million people die a year as a result of a core group of fungi, and the WHO is concerned we are unprepared for the future

The year is 2003, and a species of Cordyceps fungus has made the leap from ants to humans, transforming its hosts into frenzied, bloodthirsty zombies that spread the infection to everyone they bite. The solution proposed by a leading mycologist in Jakarta, Indonesia, where the first cases were detected, is radical, but in her view, essential: bomb the entire city and everyone in it to stop the infection in its tracks.

Last month, HBO’s long-awaited post-apocalyptic series The Last of Us hit our screens, to huge acclaim from both critics and fans. It posits that it isn’t viruses or bacteria that pose the greatest threat to society, but fungi – those same organisms beloved by brewers, bakers and wild-food enthusiasts. More specifically, climate change has prompted Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, commonly known as “zombie-ant fungus”, to adapt to surviving at higher temperatures, rendering humans an alternative host.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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