CDC sounds alarm on resistant superbug fungus after NYC outbreak

Henrietta Brewer
April 9, 2019

The first reported case of C. auris occurred in the United States in 2013, when a 61-year-old woman with respiratory failure came to NY from the United Arab Emirates, according to the Times.

Almost half of the patients who are infected with the C. auris die in 90 days.

[Image: courtesy of CDC] Globally, more than two dozen countries have reported either single or multiple cases of Candida auris, affecting every continent accept Antarctica.

Most of the cases were reported in New York, New Jersey and IL.

Healthy people with immune systems in top shape are believed to be in very low risk of getting an infection, according to Forbes.

The Center for Disease Control reports almost half of patients who contract Candida auris die, and the fungi spreads very easily and can take over a hospital room, leading some hospitals to keep the outbreak quiet to avoid public hysteria, according to the report. As you can see from the map below, New York, New Jersey, and IL have seen the most cases by far-with more than 550 cases between them.

In 2009, doctors first found candida auris in the ear discharge of a patient in Japan. "In some outbreaks, reported mortality has approached 60 percent".

The fungus has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain and has forced a prestigious British medical center to shut down its intensive care unit. Some 41% of the Spanish hospital patients affected died within 30 days of being diagnosed.

There has been little coverage on this global outbreak, mostly because many hospitals and governments are reluctant to disclose such outbreaks for fear of being seen as infection hubs, The New York Times reported. Combined, New York and New Jersey account for more than 70% of USA cases.

For now, the fungus can be treated with anti-fungal medications called echinocandins.

More specifically, someone may not realise they have candida auris if they are also sick with another illness, the CDC wrote on its website.

In regards to finding a way to treat antimicrobial-resistant infections, Nett said research groups are designing new strategies to fight invasive fungal infections, "including novel antifungals and vaccines". Oliver Wilkinson, a spokesman for the Royal Brompton Hospital, a hospital where C. auris had spread in 2015, said "there was no need to put out a news release during the outbreak".

Jeniel Nett, MD, PhD, and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Medical Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, tells Salon Candida auris has emerged as a public health threat for many reasons.

They also urged healthcare institutions to consider including C. auris in their screening protocols and further strengthen infection control measures.

Other reports by iNewsToday