If you are a fan of the series "The Last of Us" (in Italy released on Sky Atlantic, in the USA on HBO, in France on Prime Video, etc.) you will be enjoying it great, I know. A great video game that gives life after years to a rather faithful series. Nice to be able to abandon yourself for a few hours to those imaginative atmospheres. Still, not all of "The Last of Us" is fiction: especially the worst side of the story. Fungal parasites are no imaginary problem, and experts warn that real-life fungal infections are on the rise worldwide.
Four horsemen of the apocalypse
How extraordinary, the mushrooms. They have a languageI am a shape of intelligence and an extraordinary example of versatility: it can be done practically everything, and science studies them with great attention. Yet, as with humans, not all mushrooms are "nice". Of the approximately four million fungal species, 19 are considered the greatest threat to public health. Not from me, but from the World Health Organization. And 4 of them, to be more precise, are particularly dangerous. I am:
A pathogenic yeast that lives in soil and can be inhaled by people. While most people don't get sick, those with weak immune systems are at risk.
A yeast that can spread rapidly from one person to another and has caused numerous hospital outbreaks all over the world.
A mold that can cause lung disease in people with weakened immune systems. It can also cause allergic reactions or lung infections that can become serious and transfer to other organs.
It lives in the mouth, intestines and on the skin. If the immune system is out of balance, it can cause this fungus to overgrow and lead to infections, rashes, or other serious conditions.
It won't end like in "The Last of Us". Perhaps
To make you feel more relaxed I will tell you in no uncertain terms that at the moment there are no vaccines to protect against fungal infections. This makes it essential to maintain a strong immune system, because of the future there is no certainty. The Cordyceps from "The Last of Us" has no real scientific counterpart, but mushrooms know more than cabbage (sorry, bad joke) and one day they could evolve in a way we wouldn't like.
And it would be a very bad series.