Candida Auris Became An Emerging Threat to Our Health

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Recently C. auris reached New York, New Jersey and IL, leading the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add it to a list of germs deemed "urgent threats".

A NYT report on Monday showed that over the last five years, C.auris has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain, forced a prestigious British medical centre to shut down its intensive care unit, and taken root in India, Pakistan and South Africa.

There were 104 confirmed and 22 probable cases of people infected by the fungus in New Jersey by the end of February, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up sharply from a handful when the fungus was first identified in the state about two years ago.

Since Candida auris infections generally occur in people who are already sick with serious medical conditions, it can be hard to determine cause of death.

Candida auris, a yeast infection with a 1/3 mortality rate if the infection reaches either the blood, heart or brain, was first discovered in Japan in 2009 and presents a "serious global health threat", the CDC said.

He said infected patients do have a high mortality rate, partly due to their existing illnesses, and because the fungus is harder to treat than other fungal infections. "As special precautions are needed to prevent the spread of this pathogen, prompt identification is essential".

The bug is cause for concern for three reasons: It is resistant to major antifungal medications, easily misidentified using existing laboratory methods and has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. In hospitals, they spread quickly because they can colonize in the hands of health workers, equipment and surroundings.

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The C. auris infection has been diagnosed in people of all ages, the CDC says, and it can cause infections in a wide range of areas, from wounds to the ears to the bloodstream.

The ministry added that the risk of C. auris infection to a healthy individual is very low.

"If we don't change the way we clean rooms, then the Candida could potentially infect the next person that enters the room", infectious disease expert Dr. Todd Ellerin told ABC New York station WABC-TV. "It hadn't impacted our surgical outcomes". The fungus in some cases can be fatal, the CDC also reported. "I don't know that releasing information for specific centers would be necessary to accomplish that goal".

Candida Auris is a potentially life-threatening fungal infection which is now believed to be sweeping the globe.

Healthcare institutions here have measures in place to prevent and control healthcare-related infections, including C. auris, and are required to report any outbreaks, but no outbreak was reported, the spokesman said.

Dr Heather Hendrickson, senior lecturer in molecular biosciences, Massey University, comments: "Essentially, Candida auris is a yeast, not a bacterium".

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