Superbug Fungus Sickens More Than 300 In New York State

11 April, 2019, 05:08 | Author: Sue Riley
  • Candida Auris is a potentially life-threatening fungal infection

The fungus in some cases can be fatal, the CDC also reported.

A risky, emerging fungus that is resistant to antifungal drugs is becoming an increasing health concern around the world. Its name is derived from "auris", the Latin word for ear.

The fungus can spread through direct contact with an infected person, or through contact with a contaminated environment, equipment or other surfaces.

The Candida Auris attacks patients with a weakened immune system. It spread easily, killed rapidly and preyed upon each healthcare facility's weakest patients. "More than 1 in 3 patients with invasive C. auris infection (for example, an infection that affects the blood, heart, or brain) die".

According to the CDC, symptoms of the fungus may be hard to detect because patients are often already sick and only a lab test can identify the superbug.

"In the fungal world, C.auris is a bad bug", says Dr Abdul Ghafur, Coordinator with the Chennai Declaration on AMR.

Globally, Candida auris has been reported in eight other countries, including two with more than 30 patients each, the 2016 report added.

Symptoms of C. auris infection depend on the part of the body affected. "However, the very limited number of antifungal drugs means that the emergence of resistance is leading to many common fungal infections becoming incurable".

Candida Auris is a potentially life-threatening fungal infection
Candida Auris is a potentially life-threatening fungal infection

"As a society, we are using too many antibiotics and we are getting all these bacteria and fungi that are becoming resistant", he said.

The fungus, called Candida auris, is constantly evolving its defences to survive modern medicines, and has also proven to be deadly.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in April 2018 that it had approved the first rapid test for C. Auris, with results in under an hour compared to traditional testing which took 24-48 hours.

"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.

This fungus C Auris has also reached other parts of the world like New York, New Jersey and IL, and other regions of Asia.

'In New York and New Jersey, cases were identified in multiple acute care hospitals, but further investigation found most had overlapping stays at interconnected long-term care facilities and acute care hospitals within a limited geographic area.

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. "These protocols include site reviews to assess infection control compliance", testing environmental samples and requiring clinical staff to participate in advanced infection control educational programs.

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