Super Bug – Candida auris – What You Need to Know!

Olivia Bradley, Writer

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Candida auris (C. auris) is an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast. Public health officials in several countries have reported that C. auris has caused illness and death in hospitalized patients. Infections caused by C. auris often resist commonly used antifungal drugs, making them difficult to treat or create vaccines. Also, C. auris can live on surfaces in healthcare environments and spread between patients in healthcare facilities.

Patients who have a long stay in an intensive care unit, have serious medical conditions, and who have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, are at higher risk of infection and death.

  1. auris can be spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment such as a doctors tie, or from physical contact with a person who is infected or colonized. Diligent attention to infection prevention and control, including good hand hygiene, is critical for everyone including healthcare personnel and healthcare facility visitors. It is important that healthcare staff strictly follow infection prevention and control measures, such as the proper use of gowns and gloves.

When visiting a healthcare facility, visitors must follow facility directions to prevent the spread of infection. Finally, appropriate and effective environmental cleaning and disinfection by the healthcare facility is a key part of infection prevention and control.

 

New York State Case Count (as of April 19, 2019)

  • C. auris clinical case count: 324
    This group includes individuals who were ill and had C. auris detected during their clinical care.
  • C. auris screening case count: 450
    This group includes individuals who were not ill from C. auris and were tested specifically for C. auris as part of a public health investigation.

 

Cases in New York are concentrated among hospital patients and nursing home residents in New York City. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are working on the forefront of a national response to C. auris and are taking action to contain the spread of C. auris in hospitals and nursing homes. NYSDOH has provided guidance and help to hospitals and nursing homes to strengthen readiness, enhance surveillance, and place effective infection prevention and control measures for C. auris.

When C. auris is confirmed or suspected, NYSDOH recommends that the patient be housed in a private room or cohorted with other patients or residents also infected or colonized with C. auris. Buildings should also maintain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment. These places also should thoroughly clean and disinfect the environment in the building. So, so far the only way to prevent C. auris is to get out into the sun and not stay in dark rooms with artificial light or very little natural light.