Articles Posted in Science

Princess-Cruise-Lines-300x156Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, may be prevented from docking ships stationed at U.S. ports following accusations by the federal government regarding its violation of probation agreements after disposing of plastic waste into the ocean.

In 2016, Carnival Corp. was accused of illegally disposing of oil-contaminated waste into the ocean from one of their Princess Cruise Lines ships and then covering it up from authorities. Carnival Corp. eventually plead guilty to seven charges of illegal dumping from the ship and agreed to pay a $40 million settlement fee. However, the penalty also required that the company follow a comprehensive environmental compliance program which would be court-supervised for a total of five years. The agreement included a court-appointed program supervisor, as well as regular audits, for a total of eight Carnival-owned companies.

However, during its probationary period, Carnival Corp. and the cruise ships associated with the company and its subsidiaries failed to follow environmental protocols by repeatedly disposing of plastic waste into the ocean. Carnival Corp. was also accused of organizing a pre-audit program created to hide incriminating information prior to its court-scheduled audits.

drug-resistant-fungus-300x228According to the Centers for Disease Control, a multidrug-resistant fungus, Candida auris, is beginning to spread in numerous countries, including the United States where a total of 617 cases have already been reported. Of these cases, 309 have been reported in New York, while Illinois and New Jersey have also reported high numbers and more cases are currently present in nine other states. However, this is not the first time the C. auris fungus has emerged. Symptoms might not be noticeable because patients infected with C. auris are often already sick in the hospital with another serious illness or condition. The symptoms of C. auris infection depend on the body part that is affected. For bloodstream infections, the most common symptoms are fever and chills.

The very first case of the C. auris fungus was discovered in 2009, upon testing of the ear discharge of a patient in Japan. At the time, there were very few reports of the fungus, however throughout 2018 and 2019 such reports are on the rise. Currently, cases of C. auris have also been reported in South America, South Africa, and Asia. It is likely that the fungus was introduced to the United States when a patient or multiple patients received healthcare from an area where the pathogen has already spread and then returned to the United States.

But, what exactly is the fungus and how dangerous is it? One of the major concerns of the C. auris fungus is that it is difficult to diagnose and seemingly impossible to treat given its resistance to multiple antibiotics. This resilient fungus can be spread through contact with a person exposed with fungus or even through objects where the pathogen has colonized. Patients infected with C. auris have been reported to suffer from severe bloodstream and wound infections, as well as ear infections.