VALDOSTA – Discovered in Japan, 2019, Candida auris (C. auris) is a fungal superbug that’s been gradually spreading around the world. As a superbug, the fungal infection is resistant to most antifungal medications commonly used to treat other Candida or general fungal infections.
What makes C. auris particularly dangerous is the difficulty in identifying it. Most laboratory methods used to identify the infection confuse it with a similar fungus called Candida haemulonii. Misidentification can lead to ineffective treatment with antifungals that C. auris is resistant to. The longer the infection remains misdiagnosed, the greater the risk of injury or death.
As of July 15th, 2018, 206 cases have been reported. Due to C. auris being a fairly recent discovery, there’s not much information on who’s susceptible. So far, based on what data is currently available, some potential risk factors may be:
Individuals with multiple medical conditions.
Those currently suffering from diabetes.
Anyone who has had any type of surgery within the previous 90 days.
Patients who have had a central venous and/or urinary catheter in place.
People who have previously taken broad-spectrum antibiotics and antifungals.
Individuals who have been exposed to nursing homes.
It is important to note that these risk factors have only been suggested by the CDC, based on current data, and further information will be required to see if these potential risk factors are accurate.
The greatest risk factor in the list above is surgery within the last 90 days. In the case records available, post-operative individuals accounted for half of the confirmed C. auris infections.
As many infections have been reported as occurring within healthcare facilities, several recommendations have been placed for healthcare facilities to engage in effective infection control and prevention. The procedures listed are:
? Use of contact precautions (gloves, gown, ect) when interacting with anybody suspected or confirmed infected with C. auris.
? Private single rooms should be used for anybody who is considered to “pose a high threat of C. auris transmission.”
? People who are confirmed to be infected with C. auris should not be put anywhere near individuals who carry multi-drug resistant organisms (superbugs).
? Consider an individual infected until there are two consecutive negative tests, taken one week from each other, while no antifungal medications are being taken.
? In confirmed C. auris carriers, a screening should be done to see if any close contacts have been infected.
the moment, there is not much one can do to prevent themselves from
getting infected, as most infections come from within a healthcare
facility while people are most vulnerable. For sure, washing hands
frequently while in a hospital or related healthcare facility is
important and can potentially prevent an infection. For the most part,
more research is needed for better information on how to prevent C.
Clinical cases of Candida auris reported by U.S. states, as of March 31, 2019
|State||Number and type of clinical Candida auris cases reported|
Beyond the clinical case counts reported above, an additional 1123 patients have been found to be colonized with C. auris by targeted screening in eight states with clinical cases.
CDC will update case counts monthly