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C. auris – A Deadly, Drug-Resistant Fungus – is Alarmingly Spreading in Healthcare Facilities

CDC says C. auris is spreading alarmingly in US healthcare facilities. Symptoms include fever and chills and might infect the bloodstream leading to death.
CDC says C. auris is spreading alarmingly in US healthcare facilities. Symptoms include fever and chills and might infect the bloodstream leading to death. (Photo: BBC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released published data on Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine that Candida auris, or C. auris, is spreading at an alarming rate.

C. auris was first reported in 2016, and clinical cases have increased annually – particularly from 2020 to 2021. The timing and findings from public health investigations suggest that the spread might have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic when healthcare and public health systems were greatly affected. Although, increased efforts to detect cases might have also influenced the significant increase in case counts.

Most of the first cases in the United States were traced from abroad, however, recent data revealed the infections have spread within the country. Doctors have detected the fungus on the skin of other patients, making them a transmission risk to others.

A strain of Candida auris (C. auris) cultured in a petri dish at a CDC laboratory. (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A strain of Candida auris (C. auris) cultured in a petri dish at a CDC laboratory. (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

See: Children Strep Infections that Could Lead to a “Flesh-Eating” Disease is a Concern

What is C. auris?

C. auris is an emerging fungus that spreads easily and can infect ears and the bloodstream. CDS says it is a potential health emergency as it is considered an antimicrobial resistance (AR) threat.

Its symptoms include fever and chills that don’t improve after antibiotic treatment. CDS says the fungus is also resistant to multiple antifungal drugs. It can also cause severe infections with high mortality. And according to the data, 30–60% of people with C. auris infections have died.

However, C. auris is not a threat to healthy people but can be deadly to people with vulnerable health. Severe cases have been reported to people with invasive medical devices and those who frequently stay in healthcare facilities.

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