A deadly fungus spread rapidly in hospitals throughout the United States during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. The fungus, called Candida auris, maintained a hold on California in the last year.
Candida auris is considered an urgent antimicrobial resistance threat, the agency stated, because it has shown resistance to several antifungal drugs, spreads quickly and can cause severe infection with high death rates.
The fungus is transmitted person-to-person or via contact with contaminated surfaces, according to the California Department of Public Health.
It’s not considered a threat to healthy people.
“People who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities are at increased risk for acquiring C. auris,” the CDC stated in the release.
Candida auris was initially reported in 2016, but clinical cases, which is when the fungus is detected and is causing an infection, shot up in 2020-2021 and continued to rise the next year.
The CDC’s candida auris tracker shows 359 clinical cases in California in the last 12 months.
The latest findings, the CDC stated, suggest the fungus’ spread “may have worsened due to strain on healthcare and public health systems during the COVID-19 pandemic.” From 2019 to 2021, 17 states identified their first case ever.
Nevada, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas and California are the states with the highest number of reported cases in the last year.
What are the symptoms?
Candida auris can cause fever and chills that are persistent even with antibiotic treatment, according to the CDC.
The fungus can cause bloodstream infections and the agency reported that more than 1 in 3 patients with infections die.
A laboratory test must be administered to diagnose an infection. If you think you may be sick with Candida auris, the CDC advises you to talk to your healthcare provider.
Stop the spread
The CDC is working with health facilities and personnel to prevent transmission.
It is also asking people who have close contact with those infected to clean their hands with sanitizer or soap after touching a patient or their hospital equipment.
This story was at first revealed March 22, 2023, 8:53 AM.