Published: Wed, April 10, 2019
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Auris Is a Deadly Threat Amid Rise of Anti-Bacterials

Auris Is a Deadly Threat Amid Rise of Anti-Bacterials

The fungus, called Candida auris, is a yeast that normally lives harmlessly on the skin and mucous membranes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Center for Disease Control reports almost half of patients who contract Candida auris die, and the fungi spreads very easily and can take over a hospital room, leading some hospitals to keep the outbreak quiet to avoid public hysteria, according to the report.

When an elderly man was found to be infected in the Mount Sinai Hospital in Brooklyn, he died within 90 days. NY has had 309 confirmed cases, New Jersey has had 104 and IL had had 144. It can cause infections in the bloodstream, as well as wound and ear infections.

It's part of a surge of infections contracted in healthcare facilities that have become immune to antibiotics.

The rise of C. auris has been kept confidential by hospitals and even governments, partly because it is so new, and also because of the fear of being seen as infection hubs. We also have to worry about drug-resistant fungal infections, too.

Two of the patients found to be infected with the antifungal-resistant germ died while the other nine recovered.

Although C. auris infection is not a legally notifiable disease here, it has been included in an updated list of pathogens for the public health laboratory surveillance programme since a year ago.

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Candida auris is transmitted in health care settings, spreading person to person or through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment.

Map showing the prevalence of Candida auris spread worldwide. A subset of strains are resistant to all three antifungal drug classes available. Instead, they are most lethal to people with immature or compromised immune systems, including newborns and the elderly, smokers, diabetics and people with autoimmune disorders who take steroids that suppress the body's defences. Fever and chills that don't go away following drug treatment are common candida auris symptoms, but the only way to diagnose the fungus is through a lab test. It states that mortality due to Candida auris ranges between 33% to 72%.

He said infected patients do have a high mortality rate, partly due to their existing illnesses, and because the fungus is harder to treat than other fungal infections.

Some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications, making them hard to treat. "We depend on being able to treat those patients with antifungals". Recently discovery of resistant fungi in addition to resistant bacteria, compounds the situation and raises the risk level to a new high.

MOH spokesman said: "Healthcare institutions in Singapore have infection prevention and control measures in place to prevent and control any healthcare-associated infections, including C. auris".

"Based on information from a limited number of patients, 30-60 percent of people with C. auris infections have died".

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