Dozens of people have fallen ill with a deadly and drug-resistant fungal infection, and federal health officials are scrambling to get a handle on the problem. The fungus, known as Candida auris, has been reported in 12 countries on five continents since 2009 after being first discovered in an ear infection in a Japanese patient.
Now, the fungus is in the United States, and the feds warned U.S. clinicians last June to be on the lookout for it as it spreads worldwide. The fungus causes serious bloodstream infections and it spreads easily in healthcare settings and hospitals. Even worse, the fungus is highly resistant to antifungal drugs.
And it’s a deadly disease, with 60 percent of people dying from an infection, although many had some serious underlying illnesses. Most of the infections have been reported iN New York state, with at least 28 cases.
“Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat,” the CDC says on its website. “Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that C. auris has caused severe illness in hospitalized patients. Some strains of Candida auris are resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs. This type of multidrug resistance has not been seen before in other species of Candida. Also of concern, C. auris can persist on surfaces in healthcare environments and spread between patients in healthcare facilities, unlike most other Candida species. CDC has developed Interim Recommendations to help prevent the spread of C. auris.”