CDC: Deadly, drug-resistant fungus spreading through hospitals

Grant Boone
April 9, 2019

The first reported case of C. auris occurred in the United States in 2013, when a 61-year-old woman with respiratory failure came to NY from the United Arab Emirates, according to the Times.

Note : Nearly half of the patients who contract C Auris die within 90 days, according to a statement from the CDC.

Candida auris cases have been reported across the world since it first turned up in Japan in 2009. In May 2017, a total of 77 cases were reported in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oklahoma.

Healthy people with immune systems in top shape are believed to be in very low risk of getting an infection, according to Forbes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA, 90 per cent of Candida auris infections are resistant to at least one such antifungal drug, while 30 per cent are resistant to two or more major drugs.

As of the end of February, a total of 587 cases had been confirmed across the country, majority in New York State, where there were 309 cases.

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Dr. Lynn Sosa, an expert on epidemiology, said she sees Candida Auris as the most serious and significant threat among drug-resistant infections: "It's invincible and hard to diagnose", said Dr. Sosa, who says almost half of patients who die, may die within 90 days. Over the last five years, it has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain, forced a prestigious British medical centre to shut down its intensive care unit, and taken root in India, Pakistan and South Africa, The New York Times reported.

In both cases, the infections seemed to be imported from overseas as there were no reports of a Candida auris outbreak from Singapore, the report said.

The earliest sample of the drug-resistant fungus was found in South Korea in 1996, and it has since been detected in other continents.

The elderly infected man at Mount Sinai died after 90 days in the hospital, but the fungus C Auris is so tenacious it did not die reports doctors. Just 90 days after he was admitted, the man died, according to a report in the New York Times. Nett said that the CDC does not necessarily have to release more information than that. "However, many of these people had other serious illnesses that also increased their risk of death", according to the CDC.

Until researchers are able to pinpoint the cause of these drug-resistant diseases, the CDC is urging people to use soap and hand sanitizer before and after touching any patients, and reporting cases to public health departments right away.

The CDC says the yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread through the body, causing invasive infections. "It is also critical that healthcare systems are optimized to prevent the spread of Candida auris".

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