New Superbug Candida Auris A Serious Health Threat, First Cases Detected In The U.S.

Candida auris

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday issued a warning asking hospitals and doctors around the U.S. to be prepared for a new, antibiotic-resistant fungus called Candida auris. This resilient, and often fatal superbug was first discovered in Japan back in 2009 and ever since, there has been fear of a global outbreak, FOX News reports. While Candida auris had not been detected in the U,S. until a few months ago, things changed after the CDC confirmed that there have been 13 cases of people being infected by Candida auris in the U.S. The CDC had warned of a possible Candida auris outbreak nearly five months ago.

What makes the news even more alarming is the confirmation that four of the first seven patients confirmed to have been infected have died – making them essentially the first victims of this new health hazard. Another major concern about this new condition is the possibility of a Candida auris infection being misdiagnosed in lab tests as a more common Candida yeast infection – which is a treatable condition.

Candida auris is a drug-resistant fungal infection that may spread in U.S. healthcare facilities.

— CDC (@CDCgov) November 4, 2016

In a statement, CDC’s director, Dr. Thomas Frieden referred to Candida auris as an emerging threat;

“We need to act now to better understand, contain and stop the spread of this drug-resistant fungus.This is an emerging threat, and we need to protect vulnerable patients and others.”

Candida auris is as of now classified as a superbug which is now found on four continents. It is resistant to most known antibiotics – thereby making treatment inherently more difficult.

Details regarding all known Candida auris cases in the U.S. were described in the CDC’s recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. According to the report, these incidents were recorded in New York, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey. There has also been an alarming increase in the number of cases with each passing year with a huge spike being observed in 2016 – where five confirmed cases of Candida auris infections were reported. In contrast, in 2015, there was only one recorded case and the one case before the 2015 instance was back in 2013. The report goes on to add that several of the older cases were confirmed after officials reviewed seven of the suspected patients’ lab records.

Following the review, it was observed that all seven patients were hospitalized for serious conditions that included cancer and respiratory failure. Of these seven patients, four died. Doctors have not been able to fully estimate the extent of Candida auris’ contribution in causing these deaths. Alarmingly, more than half of the first few cases of Candida auris infections were not detected at all – or were misdiagnosed. After these initial cases, six other cases of apparent Candida auris infections came to the notice of the CDC after August. However, doctors treating the patients did notice that the fungus was resistant to the common antifungal drug fluconazole (sold as Diflucan). In another patient, it was noticed that the causative fungus was resistant to amphotericin B, an antifungal usually saved for serious infections. However doctors later confirmed that none of the cases in the U.S. involved a strain of Candida auris that was resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs. This was not the case with strains from other countries.

CDC reports first U.S. cases of drug-resistant fungus Candida auris via @upi

— Peter Gubbe (@EnFuegoInc) November 6, 2016

Meanwhile, efforts are on to track how Candida auris made it to the U.S. While initially there were concerns that the patients could have contracted them elsewhere, later it was confirmed that all the cases were contracted domestically. This was confirmed by Dr. Tom Chiller, who leads CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch, who said;

“It appears that C. auris arrived in the United States only in the past few years. We’re working hard with partners to better understand this fungus and how it spreads.”

For more information on Candida auris, please click here.

[Featured Image: AP Photo/David Goldman, File]

New Superbug Candida Auris A Serious Health Threat, First Cases Detected In The U.S. is an article from: The Inquisitr News

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