Fungus Among Us

There are several theories as to what set off Candida auris, a newly resistant fungus now spreading across the globe. Dr. Jacques Meis, a microbiologist in the Netherlands, believes the fungus has become more agressive and dangerous due to the prevalent use of fungicides on crops.

As farmers and gardeners apply fungicides to their fields and flowerbeds they are also making lesser known strains of fungi more agressive.

Dr. Meis encountered a similar phenomenon back in 2013 when a soil-born fungus called Aspergillus began showing up in places where fungicides were present, including gardens, fields and hospitals. He now believes the same thing is happening with Candida auris.

Fungi learn to acclimate to hostile environments much as bacteria will become tolerant to the presence of antibiotics. Just as antibiotics are being used broadly on factory farmed animals, fungicides are  used on a broad variety of commercial crops, including potatoes, beans, wheat, tomatoes and onions.