New Threat to Humans: Deadly Pathogen Found in Dogs’ Ears

The dangerous pathogen Candida auris has been found in stray dogs, which may indicate that pets are reservoirs for superbacteria. The discovery was made in a study conducted by scientists from McMaster University and Delhi University in India.

Candida auris is a type of yeast that was first reported in Japan in 2009 and has since spread worldwide. Once infected, this fungus causes persistent and severe infections, against which drugs are often powerless. One in three patients with serious invasive infections die. The World Health Organization has named Candida auris one of the four “critical priority” fungal pathogens in the world.

In a new study published in the Journal of Fungi, scientists tested skin and ear swab samples from 87 dogs from a shelter in Delhi, India. Of these, 42 of the animals were homeless and were already in intensive care because of chronic skin diseases. The remaining 35 dogs were pets treated for minor gastrointestinal and urinary infections.

The results of the study showed that four animals with chronic skin infections had evidence of Candida auris in their ear canals. This is the first live culture of this pathogen that could be isolated from an animal.

Scientists also found genomic similarities between some Candida auris strains found in dogs and strains found in humans. This indicates the possibility of transmission of the pathogen between animals and humans.

Jianping Xu, lead author of the study and professor in the Department of Biology at McMaster University, emphasizes that stray dogs can become vectors of Candida auris and transmit it to other animals and humans. He also notes that the pathogen’s transmission pathway among animals or from animals to humans requires further research.

This discovery raises important questions about the need for vigilance in surveillance of dogs and other domestic and wild animals in regions where Candida auris is endemic. At present, it is not clear how easily the pathogen is transmitted between animals or from animals to humans.

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