Candida Auris, a lethal fungal infection, is rapidly spreading across the United States, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The World Health Organization (WHO) has included this drug-resistant yeast on its list of 19 prioritized fungal pathogens, emphasizing the growing threat it poses to public health. In this post, we will explore the key details of this dangerous infection and the measures taken to contain its spread.
The Rise of Candida Auris:
First identified in Japan 15 years ago, Candida Auris has now infected up to 2,377 individuals in the US in 2022, with a mortality rate of up to 60%. This alarming increase is reflected in new research by the CDC, which indicates a 95% rise in cases reported by health centers between 2019 and 2021. The fungus has now been confirmed in 28 states and the District of Columbia, underscoring the inadequacy of current safety measures to contain its spread.
Impact on Vulnerable Populations:
The elderly and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to Candida Auris, which is resistant to multiple drugs. The CDC and WHO have warned of the severe consequences of contracting this infection and urged healthcare providers to remain vigilant in monitoring and containing its spread.
Current Measures to Combat Candida Auris:
The CDC has recommended stringent infection control measures for healthcare facilities, such as rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and the use of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. The WHO has also called for enhanced surveillance and research to better understand and combat the fungus.
Candida auris is known to cause bloodstream infections and ear infections, and has been detected in respiratory samples and urine. However, it remains uncertain if the fungus can infect the bladder or lungs.
The challenge in dealing with this yeast is not only due to its potential to cause severe illness but also the difficulty in accurately identifying it without specialized laboratory methods.
According to the CDC, conventional laboratory techniques could result in misidentification and inappropriate management, making it challenging to contain the spread of C. auris in healthcare settings.
The fungus has already spread to more than 30 countries since its initial detection in 2009, according to a study conducted in 2022.