New Fungus Outbreak In US Alerts CDC

Jane Richards
March 13, 2017

The first documented case of Candida auris was found in a Japanese patient's ear in 2009. The fungus has since been reported in the United Kingdom, Venezuela, South Korea, Pakistan, Kuwait, Kenya, Colombia, and Israel.

The Post reported that, unlike garden-variety yeast infections, this one causes serious bloodstream infections, spreads easily from person to person in health-care settings, and survives for months on skin and for weeks on bed rails, chairs and other hospital equipment.

"This drug is especially promising because of its broad anti-Candida activity, including activity against drug-susceptible and resistant strains", wrote study author Mahmoud Ghannoum, as quoted by ReliaWire. It is also a highly fatal disease, as it has been known to kill up to 60 percent of sufferers, many of whom had "other serious underlying illnesses" aside from the fungal infection. However, it remained unclear whether or not all of the deaths were caused by the infection or by other diseases, as all four individuals also had other serious medical conditions. Other patients who might by threatened with this sort of infections are those who have a central line catheter inserted into a large vein or those who are on ventilators.

The CDC is now working to investigate multiple cases of an outbreak of Candida auris in the U.S. The infection has been found in 35 people so far, recently prompting the CDC to release a map on its website in which the cases can be found by state.

Most of the cases have been reported in NY, but others have been seen in New Jersey, Maryland and IL. However, Tom Chiller, a fungal expert from the CDC, said that this is also due to the fact that the country does not have any "homegrown" strains yet. Now, the CDC is engaged in tracking all the infections, updating the number of patients every few weeks.

In addition to the 35 infected patients, an additional 18 were carrying the organism but weren't sickened by it. The drug resistant infection has been noticed in other parts of the world as well.

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"These pathogens are increasing, they're new, they're scary and they're very hard to combat", said Anne Schuchat, CDC's acting director, during a briefing in Washington this week about growing antimicrobial resistance.

Last year's deadly fungus outbreak sees its first cases of infection in the United States.

The infection is still relatively rare.

So far, the fungus doesn't seem to be evolving into new strains within the United States. Three cases have been reported in IL and 2 in New Jersey.

More than 30 patients have been diagnosed with Candida auris, a fungal infection typically found in hospitals or similar places.

Other reports by VgToday

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