Deadly fungus Candida auris spreads to Chicago

11 April, 2019, 05:07 | Author: Cynthia Curry
  • Health insurance The patient was treated at the hospital with the health of the insured

There were 104 confirmed and 22 probable cases of people infected by the fungus in New Jersey by the end of February, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up sharply from a handful when the fungus was first identified in the state about two years ago.

The CDC reports 587 cases of people having C. auris, with 309 in NY, 104 in New Jersey and 144 in IL.

The fungus can be resistant to drug treatment and unsafe to older and sick patients who have had invasive medical procedures.

Unlike other types of yeast infections, Candida auris has been found to have varying degrees of resistance to the three classes of drugs that have traditionally been successful in treating fungal infections.

Candida auris worries healthcare experts because it can't be contained with existing drug treatments.

Since then the fungus has spread imperceptibly throughout the world. It can kill within 90 days.

What makes the infection even more alarming is that the fungus persists on surfaces and has been documented spreading from person to person within hospitals and clinics.

"Everything was positive-the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump", Dr. Scott Lorin, the hospital's president, told the New York Times.

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He argued that the increase in Candida auris probably reflects the overuse of antibiotics, and urged doctors and patients to cut back on treating illness with those medications. Resistant germs called "superbugs" have been known to be most deadly to people with weak immune systems such as newborns, elderly, smokers, diabetics and people with autoimmune disorders who utilize steroids that limit their body's defenses.

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) says Candida auris infections have been "associated with up to 40% in-hospital mortality".

First identified in Japan in 2009, the fungus has spread to more than 12 countries around the globe.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracking map of C. auris in the United States.

The fungus, which is actually a yeast, can cause bloodstream infections, wound and ear infections.

Because symptoms can vary greatly, a laboratory test is needed to determine whether a patient has a C. auris infection. Most cases were found in NY and Chicago. "It is also critical that healthcare systems are optimized to prevent the spread of Candida auris".

The CDC issued a public alert in January about a drug-resistant bacteria that a dozen Americans contracted after undergoing elective surgeries at Grand View Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.

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.

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