An outbreak of skin fungus that’s causing a shortage of free Minecraft skins could endanger millions of players, a major software maker and a leading internet company have warned.
The outbreak has been spreading at a faster rate than ever before, with a rise in reported cases reported by more than 3,000 in the past week, according to Minecraft’s maker Mojang.
The company, which has made games like Minecraft, Minecraft: Story Mode and Minecraft: Pocket Edition, said it was taking precautions and has put out an advisory that users of its popular free Minecraft skin should change their browsers and download its software, as well as its mobile app.
“We’ve received reports of a possible outbreak of a skin fungus, which could impact Minecraft players,” Mojang wrote in an advisory on its website on Wednesday.
“As always, we are working with our users and community to help address the situation.”
Minecraft’s skin is made by a team of over a dozen game developers that includes a developer at Mojang, and has been downloaded over 100 million times.
Minecraft skins include the default skin for Minecraft, the base skin for its mobile game, and a variety of skins for popular video games, such as Call of Duty: Black Ops.
“The issue is spreading to other Minecraft players, including non-Minecraft players who may have not yet had an infection,” Mojango said.
The Minecraft skin problem could affect as many as 2.5 million players.
“This is a serious risk to Minecraft players and we will continue to take all appropriate action to protect our community,” Mojange wrote.
“Mojang and the Minecraft community are committed to the safety and well-being of our players.”
A Minecraft skin is the basic skin for the game.
A new skin is released every three months.
The Mojang advisory comes a day after a report from the World Health Organisation warned that a new strain of skin infection known as keratitis erythematosus, also known as psoriasis, was causing a surge in the number of infections among young people in the developing world.
It said more than 70 per cent of people who contracted psoriasic erythromyelitis, which is more common in developed countries, were younger than 20.
The WHO said more research was needed on the virus and the potential effects of the new skin on people in developing countries.
“What we know about psoritis is that it’s highly contagious and can be easily transmitted between people,” WHO spokesperson Susanne Koeppe said in a statement.
“In the past, there was a lot of concern about people getting psorites because they are younger, but this is the first time that we’ve seen such a large spike in cases.”
The agency warned people should take steps to prevent infection, including washing hands frequently and using a mask.