The United States is being attacked by a rare and dangerous fungal infection known as Candida auris that is spreading rapidly with four recent cases in Washington state. Doctors have raised concerns about its potential dangers due to a high mortality rate, drug resistance and its ability to spread easily in healthcare facilities, according to an NBC News report.
The first case was confirmed on January 10 and public health authorities
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that Candida auris can cause infections in various parts of the body, such as the bloodstream, open wounds, and the ears. Symptoms depend on the site and severity of the infection. While a bacterial infection may show similar symptoms, there is no typical set of signs associated with Candida auris infections.
This fungal infection can be present on the skin and other parts of the body without causing disease, called “colonization.” A colonized person can transmit it to others without getting sick. The CDC warns that a person colonized with Candida auris can spread it to surfaces or objects they touch, leading to transmission to other patients.
In case of colonization or infection, patients should be isolated in a separate room. The room should be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant products and caregivers should wear gloves and gowns. People should use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash their hands before entering and leaving the patient’s room, as well as before and after contact with the patient or their medical devices to prevent further spread.
Originally from Japan
Candida auris was discovered in Japan 15 years ago and cases have increased in recent years. In 2022, it infected 2,377 people, a significant increase from 53 cases in 2016. The rapid spread in most US states and 40 countries has led the CDC and the World Health Organization to classify it as a growing threat. In 2021, the fungus infected 1,471 people, according to CDC data.