The CDC is now reporting 685 confirmed clinical cases of the fungal infection, Candida auris (C. auris), that unfortunately is resistant to multiple types of antifungal drugs. Moreover another 30 cases are being monitored who were in contact with those infected. This spike is very worrisome.
States reporting C. auris infections include:
- New York
- New Jersey
The majority of the cases are in New York, Illinois and New Jersey. Many 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 first analyzed facilities reporting outbreaks, 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.
IMAGE FROM WIKIPEDIA
The superfungus still has some vulnerability to antifungal medication but its resistance is increasing.
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, KDWN, and iHeart Radio.