Published: Wed, April 10, 2019
Medical | By Mark Scott

Auris Is a Deadly Threat Amid Rise of Anti-Bacterials

Auris Is a Deadly Threat Amid Rise of Anti-Bacterials

The New York Times, in a front page report on Sunday on C. auris, quoted the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention as saying that almost half of the patients who contract the infection die within 90 days.

The New York State Department of Health has stated on their website that they are taking "aggressive" action to keep C. auris in check and have instituted a number of protocols in hospitals and nursing homes throughout the state.

If you flipped through the New York Times over the weekend, you may still be feeling unnerved by a worrisome story about Candida auris, a mysterious fungus that poses a threat to people with weakened immune systems and has been rearing its risky head in hospitals around the globe.

"Early detection of patients infected with C. auris, as well as good infection prevention and control practices, such as meticulous hand hygiene and environmental disinfection, can prevent its spread", the spokesman said. In the US, patients in IL and New Jersey have also been reported, as well as others in NY. The first cases of disease-causing C. Auris were reported from South Korea in 2011.

Candida aurus, which was discovered in 2009, has spread across the globe, and has picked up steam in the US. However, some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications, making them more hard to treat. It's unclear to researchers if its the fungus that causes death or if Candida auris weakens a person's immune system to such a degree that the patient succumbs to other maladies. "Some of the conventional anti-fungals do not work against Candida auris", he said.

In May a year ago, an elderly man died in Mount Sinai Hospital from the fungus after abdominal surgery. To date, the CDC says there have been 587 confirmed cases in the United States.

More specifically, someone may not realise they have candida auris if they are also sick with another illness, the CDC wrote on its website. Patients who have undergone recent surgery, used central venous catheters, or been hospitalized for lengthy periods, as well as those with diabetes, are particularly at risk. Fever and chills that don't go away following drug treatment are common candida auris symptoms, but the only way to diagnose the fungus is through a lab test.

But hospitals are not obliged to inform patients if they have the infection, which is most commonly contracted in hospitals, according to an alarming new feature by the New York Times.

This was done to "enable a coordinated and broad-based response to infectious threats of public health importance", the spokesman said. "More drug resistant pathogens may emerge if we remain non-serious towards preventing misuse of antibiotics and antifungals", warned Dr Sumit Ray, who heads the critical care division at Artemis Hospital in Gurgaon. Finally, it has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings.

Like this: