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Candida auris outbreak in Washington: Who is at risk of infection and why it is a threat


Candida auris: The state of Washington in the United States reported four cases of fungal infection caused by Candida auris in January 2024. This is the first known outbreak caused by Candida auris in Washington, Seattle and King County health officials said in a statement. In July 2023, a locally acquired case was detected. Candida auris The infection has not caused any deaths in the state so far.

Every year since 2016, Candida auris Cases have increased in the United States. Of the four patients who tested positive in Washington, three were admitted to Kindred Hospital Seattle First Hill. The fourth had already been previously admitted to the hospital.

Candida auris may be resistant to certain medications. To prevent the spread of Candida auris, patients who test positive for the fungus should distance themselves from healthy people. Additionally, disinfectants that can kill Candida auris Should be used to clean products.

Seattle and King County health officials have yet to identify the initial source of infection because Candida auris It is a multidrug-resistant organism. This means that it is resistant to multiple antifungal medications commonly used to treat candid infections, and some strains are resistant to all three classes of available antifungals.

From January 2022 to December 2022, 2,377 clinical cases of Candida auris in the US, and 5,754 cases detected. Clinical cases refer to cases where people are directly affected by an outbreak and are included in an outbreak investigation. Screening cases are those in which the fungus has been detected, but has not caused infection.

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More about Candida auris

Candida auris was first isolated from the outer ear of a 70-year-old woman in Japan in 2009. However, retrospective analysis of candid Species collections have shown that the oldest known strain of the fungus dates back to 1996 in South Korea.

Candida auris It is a yeast and can enter the bloodstream, spread throughout the body and cause invasive infections, such as bloodstream infections, wound infections and ear infections.

Candida auris is an emerging fungus that represents a serious global threat and is of concern to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for three main reasons.

First of all, Candida auris It is often resistant to multiple drugs.

Second, it is difficult to identify Candida auris with standard laboratory methods, and can be misidentified in laboratories without specific technology, leading to inappropriate handling.

In third place, Candida auris has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings, so it is important to identify the fungus in a hospitalized patient so healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread.

In 2021, the number of cases of Candida auris strains resistant to echinocandins tripled. Echinocandin is the most recommended antifungal medication for the treatment of Candida auris infections.

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What symptoms does it present? Candida auris What does the infection lead to?

Candida auris can affect different parts of the body such as the ears, bloodstream, and open wounds. The location and severity of the Candida auris infection determines the symptoms. Specific symptoms cannot be attributed to Candida auris infection because the fungus can cause symptoms similar to those of an infection caused by bacteria.

Who Candida auris a threat to?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Candida auris It is not a threat to healthy people, but to those who are “very sick”, use “invasive medical devices” or have “long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities.” These people are at higher risk of contracting Candida auris.

People with comorbidities and those who need intensive and complex medical care, or use equipment such as breathing tubes, catheters or feeding tubes, are at higher risk of contracting Candida auris infection.

Why has the CDC considered Candida auris An urgent threat of antimicrobial resistance?

From Candida auris Often resistant to multiple antifungal medications, spreads easily in healthcare settings, and can cause serious infections with high mortality rates, the CDC has deemed the fungus an urgent antimicrobial resistance threat.

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What are the reasons behind the increase in Candida auris Does the case count?

Overall poor infection prevention and control (ICP) practices in healthcare facilities are one of the reasons behind the increase in Candida auris case counts. Also increased efforts to detect cases, including increased detection of colonization, could be one of the reasons behind the rising case count.

According to the CDC, colonization screening is an infection prevention technique that uses laboratory testing to identify patients colonized with resistant pathogens and helps prevent the spread of those microorganisms.

The pressure on health and public health systems during the Covid-19 pandemic could have increased the spread of Candida auris.

What is colonization Candida auris?

When one is exposed to Candida auris, the fungus can be present on the skin and other parts of the body, without causing symptoms. This is called colonization.

People whose bodies have been colonized by Candida auris They can transmit the fungus to the surfaces of objects they touch. When other people come into contact with these objects, they can become infected.

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How is Candida auris detected?

Candida auris It can be detected in two ways. One way checks if a person is colonized and the other checks if the person is infected with Candida auris.

The colonization test is used to check if a person is colonized with Candida auris. As part of this technique, a swab is taken from the patient’s armpits or groin, which is then analyzed in a laboratory.

Testing of clinical specimens is used to check whether a person has been infected with Candida auris. If a person believes that he is experiencing symptoms of an infection, he should submit a clinical specimen to his healthcare provider. This sample could be blood or urine. Tests will be carried out on the sample to check if it contains Candida auris.

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What dangerous results can Candida auris What does the infection lead to?

Candida auris can cause superficial skin infections or serious, life-threatening illnesses. When the fungus causes invasive infections, such as bloodstream infections, the results are serious.

Since the majority of patients who become ill with Candida auris They are usually already very sick, it is difficult to know how much Candida auris contributed to his death.

How to prevent Candida auris infection

To prevent the spread of Candida auris In healthcare settings, patients infected with the fungus should be kept separate from those at risk. These patient rooms should be cleaned using special disinfectant products.

Healthcare professionals should use personal protective equipment while caring for patients infected with Candida auris.

In some cases, personalized preventative measures can be used.

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