What Is Candida auris? A Drug-Resistant Fungus. All You Need To Know
Candida auris is a drug-resistant fungus and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling this emerging fungus an “urgent threat” reportedly. This was after a new study that showed that Candida auris it has been spreading at a rapid rate throughout healthcare facilities.
Cases of Candida auris (C. auris) have increased each year since 2016 when it was first reported.
The year 2020 to 2021 showed the most rapid rise according to the study published on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Cases detected through screening tripled from 2020 to 2021, totaling 4,041. Cases that caused infection rose from 476 in 2019 to 1,471 in 2021. 17 states identified their first case of C. auris ever between 2019 and 2021.
“The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases are concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control,” said lead author Dr. Meghan Lyman, an epidemiologist at the CDC.
Researchers were equally concerned by the number of infections resistant to echinocandins, the antifungal medication recommended for treatment, which tripled compared with the previous two years.
Fungal infections can be life-threatening to those most at risk in hospital settings, including patients who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities, the agency said.
What is Candida auris, or C. auris?
- Candida auris is a drug-resistant fungus that can induce outbreaks in healthcare facilities, according to the CDC.
- This fungus can contaminate the bloodstream and even cause a casualty by infesting the blood, heart, and brain, the agency said.
- According to studies more than 1 in 3 patients die from such an infection.
- In addition to that according to experts, the pathogen is dangerous for other factors because it’s often immune to antifungal medicines commonly used to treat infections.
- It’s also tricky to specify without specialized laboratory technology and is often mistaken for other infections.
- The agency said C. auris was first determined in 2009 in Asia and has quickly spread throughout the world.
- In 2015, it began spreading in the U.S. and since then the reported cases have increased by more than 300% according to reports.
Candida auris: Symptoms
- It doesn’t always cause infection though can be carried on a patient’s skin according to the CDC said, making it more contagious.
- According to the agency, it may be difficult to identify when it does cause infection according to the agency.
- This is because it most frequently occurs in patients who are already sick with other diseases and exhibiting symptoms.
- Fever and chills that don’t improve after giving antibiotics are the most common symptoms of C. auris according to the CDC.
Candida auris: Prevention
The experts expressed that fungal infections, including C. auris might be tough to treat because antifungals can be harmful to humans.
That makes prevention key, said Lance B. Price, professor of environmental and occupational health and the founder and co-director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University
“The scary thing about candida auris and any of the drug-resistant fungal infections is just how difficult it is to find good, safe antifungals because people and fungi are built of the same stuff,” said Price, who is not affiliated with the CDC study.
Some studies show that most Candida auris infections can be treated with antifungal drugs called echinocandins, some infections have been resistant to the main classes of antifungal medicines which makes them difficult to treat.
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