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The CDC Warns of Emerging Fungus in Healthcare Facilities – Candida auris

Candida antibiotic resistance and sepsis

The CDC Warns of Emerging Fungus in Healthcare Facilities – Candida auris

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is alerting healthcare professionals to be on the lookout for Candida auris in their patients.  Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat. Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that C. auris has caused severe illness in hospitalized patients.

C. auris has caused bloodstream infections, wound infections, and ear infections. It also has been isolated from respiratory and urine specimens, but it is unclear if it causes infections in the lung or bladder.

Some strains of Candida auris are resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs. According to the CDC, 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 (contaminated surfaces or equipment) and spread from person to person in healthcare facilities, unlike most other Candida species

C. auris is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods and can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. The CDC encourages all U.S. laboratory staff who identify C. auris strains to notify their state or local public health authorities and CDC at candidaauris@cdc.gov.

The CDC is working with state and local health departments to identify and investigate cases of C. auris; see the CDC’s map of Candida auris cases in the United States.  This map will be updated on a monthly basis by the CDC.  As of March 2017, Candida auris cases have been reported in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Rapid identification of C. auris in a hospitalized patient is particularly important so that hospitals can take special precautions to stop its spread. The CDC have issued Candida auris Interim Recommendations for Healthcare Facilities and Laboratories as well as a FAQ page.

This would be a good time for your healthcare organization to review its Infection Prevention and Control Plan and associated policies and procedures in light of this emerging fungus.

 

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