Candida auris outbreak: Superbug fungus has sickened hundreds, CDC says

Drug-resistant Deadly ‘Super Fungus’ Continues To Spread Through Hospitals

Last May, an elderly man was admitted to the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital for abdominal surgery. A blood test revealed that he was infected with a fungus called Candida Auris, which has recently been found to be particularly lethal.

The first reported case of C. auris occurred in the United States in 2013, when a 61-year-old woman with respiratory failure came to NY from the United Arab Emirates, according to the Times.

The fungus has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain and has forced a prestigious British medical center to shut down its intensive care unit.

The fungus was seen in the US for the first time in 2013.

A drug-resistant superbug fungus has sickened almost 600 people across the United States in recent years, including more than 300 patients in New York State, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Note : Nearly half of the patients who contract C Auris die within 90 days, according to a statement from the CDC.

A map of Candida auris cases in the United States
A map of Candida auris cases in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says U.S. C. auris cases are a result of inadvertent introduction into the country from a patient who had recently received healthcare in a country where C. auris has been reported or a result of local spread after such an introduction.

Candida auris is a fungus that is getting health experts nervous not only because it's drug-resistant, but also because it is fast-acting. The infection can become fatal in 30%-60% of patients. The CDC also reports that it can cause bloodstream and ear infections - not to mention death. Such over-prescribing has reduced the effectiveness of the drugs, allowing once curable bacterial infections to thrive once again. However, tests showed that the invasive fungus was everywhere inside the room, from the bed to the doors and walls to everything else inside, according to Gulf News. Now, fungal infections are becoming resistant.

No antifungal treatment was given following discussions with the patient's family.

Simply put, fungi, just like bacteria, are evolving defenses to survive modern medicines. One of the things that makes it so especially unsafe is that it's resistant to major anti-fungal medications, according to the Times. However, the level of threat to the general public is still unknown.

Symptoms may not be noticeable because patients are often already sick with another illness.

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