The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an urgent warning about the rapid spread of a deadly fungal infection called Candida auris, which poses a significant threat to people with weakened immune systems or those using medical devices such as catheters or ventilators.
According to a recent CDC report, US cases of Candida auris nearly doubled from 756 to 1,471 in 2021, with the majority of cases resistant to anti-fungal treatment. The rise in cases is attributed to poor infection prevention in healthcare facilities and enhanced screening efforts, and may have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Candida auris is a serious concern for vulnerable patients in hospitals and elderly care homes, as it can cause severe illness or death. Invasive infections caused by Candida auris are fatal in one out of three patients, but it can be challenging to determine the exact role of the fungus in vulnerable patients. The most common symptoms of Candida auris are fever and chills that do not improve after treatment.
The World Health Organization has recognized Candida auris as a “fungal priority pathogen,” and other countries have reported an increase in cases. The CDC emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control to address the rising number of cases.
Dr. Meghan Lyman, the report’s lead author and a CDC epidemiologist, told CBS News that the increase “emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warning about Candida auris highlights the need for healthcare facilities to improve their infection prevention measures and for individuals to take precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of the fungus and other fungal infections.