Global Health Threat Warning:
Deadly Drug-resistant Superbug, Candida Auris, is on the Rise
Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat. Healthcare organizations in several countries have reported that a type of yeast called Candida auris has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients. In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections.
Some strains of C. auris are resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat.
Patients who have been hospitalized in a healthcare facility a long time, have a central venous catheter, or other lines or tubes entering their body, or have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast.
Specialized laboratory methods are needed to accurately identify C. auris. Conventional laboratory techniques could lead to misidentification and inappropriate management, making it difficult to control the spread of C. auris in healthcare settings.
What is Candida auris?
Candida auris (also called C. auris) is a fungus that causes serious infections. Patients with C. auris infection, their family members and other close contacts, public health officials, laboratory staff, and healthcare workers can all help stop it from spreading.
Why is Candida auris a problem?
It causes serious infections. C. auris can cause bloodstream infections and even death, particularly in hospital and nursing home patients with serious medical problems. More than 1 in 3 patients with invasive C. auris infection (for example, an infection that affects the blood, heart, or brain) die.
It’s often resistant to medicines. Antifungal medicines commonly used to treat Candidainfections often don’t work for Candida auris. Some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three types of antifungal medicines.
It’s becoming more common. Although C. auris was just discovered in 2009, it has spread quickly and caused infections in more than a dozen countries.
It’s difficult to identify. C. auris can be misidentified as other types of fungi unless specialized laboratory technology is used. This misidentification might lead to a patient getting the wrong treatment.
It can spread in hospitals and nursing homes. C. auris has caused outbreaks in healthcare facilities and can spread through contact with affected patients and contaminated surfaces or equipment. Good hand hygiene and cleaning in healthcare facilities is important because C. auris can live on surfaces for several weeks.
How do I know if I have a Candida auris infection?
People who get invasive Candida infections are often already sick from other medical conditions, so it can be difficult to know if you have a C. auris infection. The most common symptoms of invasive Candida infection are fever and chills that don’t improve after antibiotic treatment for a suspected bacterial infection.
How is C. auris diagnosed?
Only a laboratory test can diagnose C. auris infection. Talk to your healthcare provider if you believe you have a fungal or healthcare-associated infection.
How is it spread?
C. auris can be spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, or from physical contact with a person who is infected or colonized.
How can we stop the spread of C. auris?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is working with public health partners, healthcare workers, and laboratories to stop the spread of C. auris in healthcare settings.
Meticulous attention to infection prevention and control, including good hand hygiene (either hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitizing with an alcohol-based hand rub), is critical for everyone including healthcare personnel and healthcare facility visitors. Here’s how CDC is asking everyone to help:
Clean your hands with hand sanitizer or soap and water before and after touching a patient with C. auris or equipment in his or her room. Hand washing is one of the most effective and most overlooked ways to stop disease. Soap and water work well to kill germs. Wash for at least 20 seconds and rub your hands briskly. Disposable hand wipes or gel sanitizers also work well.
Remind healthcare workers to clean their hands.
The CDC also recommends that healthcare personnel strictly follow infection prevention and control measures, such as the proper use of gowns and gloves. When visiting a healthcare facility, visitors must follow facility directions to prevent the spread of infection. Finally, appropriate and effective environmental cleaning and disinfection by the healthcare facility is a key part of infection prevention and control.
Is C. auris treatable?
Most C. auris infections are treatable with antifungal drugs. However, some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications, making them more difficult to treat.
https://medlineplus.gov/germsandhygiene.html (hand washing)
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