An emerging fungus called Candida auris is spreading rapidly in the US, and has been identified as an "urgent antimicrobial resistance (AR) threat’. The country's health officials are alarmed by the tripling of cases in 2021 that were resistant to echinocandins, the most commonly recommended antifungal medication for treating this type of fungus.
As per the health officials, the rapid increase and wide distribution of cases are worrisome, highlighting the importance of ongoing monitoring, access to more laboratories, faster tests for early diagnosis, and adherence to proper infection prevention and control measures.
The number of cases in the US has risen from 756 to 1,471. This infection was first discovered in Japan in 2009 and first reported in the US in 2016. The CDC's data indicates that the most significant increase in cases occurred between 2020 and 2021.
What is Candida auris?
Candida auris is a type of yeast that can spread all over the body and cause very serious infections. The yeast is especially dangerous because it doesn't respond to medicine that can usually treat infections. The CDC is worried about how fast it is spreading because it is very hard to tell if someone has it with regular tests. People can get this infection in their blood, wounds, or even their ears.
Who is at risk?
Individuals who have been hospitalized or living in nursing homes and have received treatments involving tubes and lines placed inside the body are at the greatest risk of contracting Candida auris. Moreover, individuals who have recently undergone surgery, have diabetes, or have been treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics are also at risk of developing the infection.
Are Candida auris infections treatable?
While many Candida auris infections can be treated with echinocandin antifungal drugs, some infections have become resistant to the main types of antifungal medication. This has made them challenging to treat.