What is Candida Auris?
Candida Auris is a type of fungus that causes a severe infection in hospitalized patients. The microbe can be carried on the bottom of shoes, clings to surfaces in hospital rooms, flourishes on floors, and adheres to patients’ skin, phones and food trays, health officials said. It also is odorless and invisible.
The CDC is concerned about it because of the following factors that distinguish it from other types of fungus:
- It is drug-resistant. The three types of anti-fungal medicines that usually work on other types of fungus infections do not on Candida Auris.
- It is hard to identify. Hospitals have to use very specialized lab methods to identify Candida Auris; the usual methods may fail to identify it and lead to misdiagnosis and mistreatment.
- It spreads in hospitals and nursing homes, in patients that already have weakened immune systems via contact with other patients or from contaminated surfaces.
- It leads to severe infection and death. About 30%-60% of patients with invasive Candida Auris infection die.Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat. C. auris causes severe illness in hospitalized patients in several countries, including the United States. Patients can remain colonized with C. auris for a long time and C. auris can persist on surfaces in healthcare environments. This can result in spread of C. auris between patients in healthcare facilities.
Candida auris is Widespread around the World (stats as if 4/30/2019
Multiple cases of C. auris have been reported from Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States (primarily from the New York City area, New Jersey, and the Chicago area) and Venezuela; in some of these countries, extensive transmission of C. auris has been documented in more than one hospital.
Candida auris is Drug Resistant
According to MedicalXpress.com, “Drug resistance is one of the biggest health threats facing communities worldwide today. It means that infections can no longer be easily treated with available drugs. In some instances, infections can’t be treated at all. Drug resistance occurs when organisms are overexposed to the medications used to destroy them. Overexposure forces pathogens to develop mechanisms to thwart the drugs. An example of overexposure is the use of human antifungal drugs in floriculture. The medications are used on flowers, particularly tulips, with the aim of preventing fungal damage on the plant. But overexposure causes fungi to develop mechanisms to repel the medications and pass along that ability to its offspring.”
“Big Pharma largely has abandoned research and development on new antimicrobial agents, drugs that treat both fungi and bacteria. Some doctors fear we are on a path in which pathogens have become impervious to many existing medications. This is called multidrug resistance.”
Dr. Tom Chiller, who heads the CDC’s fungal diseases division, defines C. auris as an emerging multidrug-resistant pathogen, which means it has been recently identified in human populations and repels most—and on rare occasions—all drugs used against it. The pathogen affects the sickest of the sick. C. auris was first diagnosed a decade ago in Japan. Within that time, it has been diagnosed worldwide. The pathogen joins other emerging, multidrug-resistant infectious agents, the majority of which are bacterial. Multidrug-resistant infections of all kinds are difficult and sometimes impossible to treat.
As of 4/20/2019, almost 2,000 cases of Candida auris have been identified as clinical cases, or are found in people tested and reported to be colonized by C. auris. In that these facts are over 60 days old, and cases of C. auris have been under-reported in the past, is it not possible that the outbreaks and number of cases exceed this estimate.
See the article Candida auris in the News, Part 2 for information on how to protect yourself.