A drug-resistant fungus, Candida Auris, is spreading rapidly across medical facilities in the United States. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday warned that the drug-resistant fungus is spreading at an “alarming rate” from 2020 to 2021.
The CDC also pointed out that while the fungus is generally not a threat to healthy people, it is a deadly threat to people who are very sick and those who have long stays in the hospital.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), its mortality rate ranges from 30% to 53% of patients affected by an invasive infection. Reportedly, there have been outbreaks in more than 30 countries. A 2020 review from case reports from those nations found almost 4,750 cases globally between 2009 and 2019.
What is Candida Auris?
According to CDC, Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat. The fungus is often multidrug-resistant and some strains are resistant to all three available classes of antifungals.
In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. The CDC pointed out that this yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat.
The drug-resistant fungus can as caused bloodstream infections, wound infections, and ear infections. It also has been isolated from respiratory and urine specimens, but it is unclear if it causes infections in the lung or bladder. The CDC’s warning about its spread has been published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
How to diagnose Candida auris infection?
The fungal infection is usually diagnosed by culture of blood or other body fluids. However, as per CDC, is harder to identify from cultures than other, more common types of Candida.
How does this fungal infection spread?
The transmission of Candida Auris infection is mainly through contaminated surfaces in hospitals. It was first identified but a deeper analysis found that it actually dates back to 1996.
It usually spreads through person-to-person contact as well as contact with contaminated surfaces and equipment. The fungus can live on surfaces for several weeks, according to the CDC.
As the fungal infection cannot be treated with traditional antifungal medicines, leading to a rise in infections. CDC considers C. auris an emerging pathogen because increasing numbers of infections have been identified in multiple countries since it was recognized.
How to treat Candida auris infection?
According to CDC, Most C. auris infections are treatable with a class of antifungal drugs called echinocandins. However, some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications, making them more difficult to treat.
During such instances, multiple classes of antifungals at high doses may be required to treat the infection.