In June 2016, the American health authorities warned about a strain of yeast called Candida auris, which is a pathogen that is resistant to drugs. Since then, more than 30 people have been diagnosed with such fungus infections.
This fungus was first discovered in 2009, in a Japanese patient who had an ear infection. Since then, the pathogen spread all over the world, affecting thousands of people in many countries. Reports showed cases of infection in the United Kingdom, Venezuela, Kuwait, Israel, South Korea, Kenya, Pakistan, or Colombia.
The yeast infection affects the bloodstream
An infection with this yeast is more dangerous that those caused by different types of fungus. It can affect the bloodstream and can spread from one person to another within healthcare settings. Usually, candida infections affect the vagina, throat, or mouth, but more severe strains are dangerous because they attack the heart, eyes, bones, brain, or, in this case, the bloodstream.
Candida auris survives on hospital equipment, such as chairs or beds, for weeks. Also, it survives on the skin for months. Researchers discovered that some of its strains are resistant to all three main types of drugs which fight against fungus infections. In the United States, 71 percent of the C. auris strains were found to be resistant to these drugs, thus making them more difficult to treat.
The American health officials declared that this organism is part of a class of newly emerging pathogens which are resistant to drugs. They have identified 35 people infected with the fungus, and 18 more who were only carrying the pathogen, without being infected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a statement on the origin of the fungus found in the American patients.
“Based on laboratory testing, the U.S. strains were found to be related to strains from South Asia and South America. However, none of the patients travelled to or had any direct links to those regions. Most patients likely acquired the infections locally.”
Candida auris infection poses high death risks
CDC also declared that sixty percent of the cases were deadly. However, those who were infected had other health problems. Thus, the fungus might cause complications to ill people and to those who have recently had surgery.
Most of the cases were identified in New York (28), while others were also reported in Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. CDC are currently trying to improve their methods to detect the infections, so that they can control the spreading of the fungus in healthcare settings and offer proper treatment to the patients.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons