Posted in Health, news

First cases of “SuperFungus” in the US revealed

Last updated 5/20/17

The CDC is now reporting 77 confirmed clinical cases of the fungal infection, Candida auris (C. auris), that unfortunately is resistant to multiple types of antifungal drugs.  By the end of last month 66 cases had been reported since 2013.  Moreover another 45 cases are being monitored who were in contact with those infected.  This spike is very worrisome.

States reporting cases include:

New York

New Jersey

Indiana

Illinois

Massachusetts

Maryland

Oklahoma

The majority of the cases are in New York and New Jersey.  60% of those infected have died but they did have other comorbid conditions, which could have also contributed to their becoming infected with C. auris to begin with.

Please note that this fungus is different from  the species, Candida albicans, which causes common yeast infections.

When investigators analyzed the facilities, they found C. auris had colonized mattresses, beds, chairs, counter surfaces, infusion pumps, and window sills.  By this, the superbug demonstrates its resilience outside a human host.

Candida-auris_2016-250px.jpg

Image from wikipedia

The superfungus still has some vulnerability to antifungal medication but its resistance is increasing.

__________________________________________

Superbugs have been surging, with MRSA, CRE and Gonorrhea making headlines with their bacterial strains resistant to many top of the line antibiotics.  Now the CDC reports 13 cases of the fungal infection, Candida auris, that unfortunately is resistant to multiple types of antifungal drugs.  Please note that this fungus is different from  the species, Candida albicans, which causes common yeast infections.

From May 2013 to August 2016, seven individuals became infected with C. auris and four eventually died, although officials are unsure it was the Candida that caused their immediate death.  Since this August, six more cases have been identified. Two of the original cases are believed to have spread within a hospital in Illinois.  One case supposedly occurred in a New Jersey Hospital.  CDC reports these cases as well as one case in Maryland and nine in New York.  Some of the patients had weakened immune systems and hence vulnerable to a hospital-acquired infection.  Even though the strain of Candida demonstrated multiple drug resistance all cases were able to be treated with an antifungal.

C. auris can cause a variety of infections involving the skin and ear, but most concerning, is sepsis (infection of the bloodstream).  C.  auris was first identified in Japan back in 2009, but upon retrospective review, the CDC states the earliest known strain dates back to 1996. Since then it has been reported in multiple countries including the UK, Israel, South Africa, South Korea, Columbia, Pakistan, Kuwait and Venezuela.

Most hospital disinfectants are currently designed to be antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral.  The CDC has urged healthcare facilities to be diligent in their cleaning practices and to be aware of this “superfungus.”.

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician

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Author:

Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Assistant Professor Touro University Nevada

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