CDC: Deadly, drug-resistant fungus spreading through hospitals

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A blood test detected the germ, and he died after 90 days in the hospital, but the germ survived.

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.

An elderly patient who was hospitalized last May at Mount Sinai Hospital in Brooklyn underwent abdominal surgery. So far, the CDC has received 587 reports of cases in the United States.

The deadly and pervasive yeast-fungus called Candida auris is on the rise across the U.S. And health officials are now warning about how fast it's spreading in health care facilities, especially nursing homes and hospitals.

It's part of a surge of infections contracted in healthcare facilities that have become immune to antibiotics. According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), some hospitals have had to bring in special cleaning equipment and even rip out floor and ceiling tiles to get rid of it.

"First, it is readily transmitted in the hospital setting between patients", Nett said. The healthcare industry has argued that publicising an outbreak would scare people unnecessarily - after all, adequate precautions have been taken to prevent the spread.

Nett said that not all standard laboratory diagnostic methods are created to accurately detect Candida auris relatively new species.

Most strains of C. auris are resistant to at least one antifungal drug class, according to the CDC, and more than one-third of the strains are resistant to two. A delay in a diagnosis can lead to a spread within hospitals.

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In both cases, the infections seemed to be imported from overseas as there were no reports of a Candida auris outbreak from Singapore, the report said.

Many of these patients had other serious illnesses which likely contributed to the deaths, she said.

There has been little coverage on this global outbreak, mostly because many hospitals and governments are reluctant to disclose such outbreaks for fear of being seen as infection hubs, The New York Times reported.

Dr. Silke Schelenz, Royal Brompton's infectious disease specialist, told The New York Times he found the lack of urgency "very, very frustrating".

The CDC has an ongoing case count, but only identifies cases in each state. You can find more information here.

The CDC is alerting US healthcare facilities to be on the lookout for C. auris in their patients.

"Though they remain a problem, we have strategies in place and potential treatments for vulnerable patients affected by difficult-to-treat bacteria". Candida auris can cause different types of infections, including bloodstream infection, wound infection, and ear infection.

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