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Real-Life ‘Last of Us’ Scenario? Plant Fungus Previously Unseen in Humans Now Found in Kolkata Patient

Arya Jain, St Jude’s Academy, Canada

In the shadows of our world, countless illnesses and infections lurk without being detected. Among them are insidious fungi, creeping silently through our bodies, slowly depriving us of life. 

In a chilling turn of events, a 61-year-old man from Kolkata has become the first person in history to be afflicted with the fatal fungus Chondrostereum purpureum. This real-life occurrence is blindingly similar to the popular video game “The Last of Us,” in which a fungal infestation causes civilisation to collapse.

The video game “The Last of Us” transports us to a post-apocalyptic world where a fungus outbreak has wiped off all of humanity. In a society that has collapsed into anarchy, the few survivors are left to fend for themselves. While the game’s premise may appear far-fetched, recent news of a Kolkata man sick with a lethal fungus brings “The Last of Us”‘ fictional world to reality.

Silver leaf is a fungal disease caused by Chondrostereum purpureum, a plant fungus. It mostly targets members of the rose family. The condition progresses and is frequently fatal. However, it had never been known to infect people before. The fungus is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia, and the increase of global travel and trade allows lethal fungi like this to spread to other regions of the world.

According to Medical Mycology Case Reports, the person in question was a plant mycologist who, for three months, struggled from anorexia, fatigue, coughing, and difficulty in swallowing as a result of the fungus. The fact that the patient looked to have a fully working immune system and showed no evidence of immunosuppressive drugs, HIV, diabetes, or any other sort of chronic sickness adds to the mystery surrounding this contraction.

Since Chondrostereum purpureum is rarely virulent or communicable, medical specialists are worried about the instance. However, the fact that it has affected a person raises significant worries. Researchers are feverantly trying to determine how the individual contracted the sickness and if it was a singular incident or the beginning of a larger pandemic. Additionally, they are working to find effective treatments for the illness, which as of yet has no known cure.

This case serves as a warning of the potential hazards posed by fungal infections, especially in an age when global travel and climate change have made pathogen dissemination simpler. While Chondrostereum purpureum is not the same as the imaginary fungus in “The Last of Us,” the similarities are enough to make anyone who has played the game nervous.

As the globe continues to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic, it is critical not to overlook other possible threats. Fungal infections are less visible than viruses, but they can be just as dangerous. The incident involving the man from Kolkata should act as a warning to the medical profession and the general public that we must constantly be on the lookout for threats to our health and wellbeing. We are all at risk of falling victim to a lethal disease’s grasp as long as even one undiscovered illness is kept secret.

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