HBOs The last of us begins with a dire warning from a scientist– if the planet’s temperatures continue to rise, fungi will be able to possess animals, including humans. As it turned out, despite being part of a fictional television show, the warning was, in fact, very well rooted. So much so that new studies suggest that yeast infections — albeit not the brainwashing kind seen in the series — are on the rise.
According to a new piece in the Wall Street Journal, the average human temperature (98.6 degrees) has been around long enough to kill fungal infections. However, as temperatures rise around the planet, scientists believe fungi are beginning to adapt to rising temperatures and that body temperature won’t be fast enough to kill fungal infections.
“As molds are exposed to more consistently elevated temperatures, there is a real possibility that certain previously harmless molds may suddenly become potential pathogens,” Peter Pappas, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, told the Associated Press. log.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 7,000 people in the United States will get a yeast infection by 2021. By comparison, only “hundreds” of people died from similar infections in 1970, a significant increase over the past five decades. Worldwide, more than 110,000 people die each year from severe brain infections caused by the Cryptococcus fungi.
“Mold is not transmitted from person to person, but through airborne mold spores. They are in our homes, they are everywhere,” added Dr. Asiya Gusa, a researcher in Duke’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. “We keep saying these fungi are rare, but this must be the most common rare disease because they are everywhere now.”
For more The last of us content, check out ComicBook and Entertainment Tonight’s new podcast: The Last of Pods. The podcast features breakdowns of each episode, interviews with special guests from the show, and more. The last of us airs every Sunday on HBO and HBO Max at 9 p.m. Eastern, with The Last of Pods debuting immediately after each show.