A relatively obscure yeast-like fungus known as candida auris has now emerged as a superbug, reported in several countries since first diagnosed as the cause of a patient’s hard-to-treat ear infection in Japan back in 2009. Since then it has shown up including the US, The UK, Canada, Venezuela, Israel, Columbia, India, Kuwait, Kenya, Pakistan, South Korea, and South Africa. Although New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker claims that the infection “poses no risk to the general public,” his office has issued an advisory to hospitals and nursing homes after was found to have contributed to the death of 20 people. The most recent were in Rochester about a week ago. To
The most recent were in Rochester about a week ago. To date, 53 cases have been diagnosed throughout the state since 2013. Additional cases have been reported in New Jersey, Maryland, and Illinois between May 2013-August 2016. It should also be noted that the fungal infections have been found in all age groups.
“C. auris is an opportunistic infection, which primarily impacts the “sickest of the sick” patients who are already ill for other reasons, and can be resistant to all known antifungal medications, leaving doctors at a loss to treat ailing patients” he continued.
Initial symptoms can include chills and fever as well as sepsis and lead to coma as well as multiple organ failure, and eventual death.
Meanwhile, Dr. Aaron Glatt, national spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and chair of the Department of Medicine at Long Island’s South Nassau Communities Hospital noted that c.auris can be a “colonizer as well as an infector.”
Although the fungus can remain harmless on the skin of carriers, it has been known to attack the bloodstream of the most vulnerable patients, namely those already weak found in such institutions mentioned above, as well as those who have recently undergone surgery, have a central venous catheter, and/or been submitted to a wide range of antibiotic and/or antifungal therapy. Diabetics are also at particular risk.
In addition to its resistance to antifungal meds, Candida auris is even more vexing due to the fact that it is extremely difficult to diagnose through routine fungal cultures of blood or other body fluids,m and requires special molecular methods not currently available in all labs If you suspect you have a C. auris infection, contact your doctor immediately, who in turn, can refer you to a specialist in fungal diseases, as well as notify the CDC regarding any possible outbreak.