Fatal Fungal Infection Emerges in U.S. for First Time, Has Already Killed Four Patients

candida auris

By Kurtis Bright

Antifungal Drugs Mostly Useless

The ongoing battle against drug-resistant infections has taken a decidedly darker turn as a deadly fungal infection has emerged in the U.S. for the first time–and is proving next to impossible to stop.

The infection, known as Candida auris has been found in 13 U.S. patients so far, and has already killed four of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Spread through hospitals and other health-care facilities, the fungus invades the body through the ear canal, urine and bloodstream. And it is setting off alarm bells at the highest levels, as it has proven particularly stubborn in attempts to treat it.

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

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Although C. auris has been around at least since 2009, when it was first isolated from the ear canal fluids of a Japanese patient, it was only identified as an emerging global threat by the CDC in June of this year. In addition to its recent appearance in the U.S., it has previously been found in places as far-flung as the U.K., Colombia, India, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea and Venezuela.

The first seven cases to be identified in the U.S. were found in Illinois, New York, Maryland and New Jersey between 2013 and 2016, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The remaining six cases were discovered after the period the report covered had ended, and are currently under investigation.

The CDC was quick to point out that the patients who contracted the fungal infection were likely already immuno-compromised and had been in the hospital for some time before they were infected.

“All of the patients had serious underlying medical conditions and had been hospitalized an average of 18 days when C. auris was identified,” said the report.

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However, the fact of the drug-resistant nature of the infection is particularly troubling. Some 71 percent of the strains that were isolated were found to be resistant to standard drug treatments.

Yet another alarming feature of the outbreak is that while the strains found in the U.S. patients were found to be related to strains previously identified in South Asia and South America, none of the patients who were infected had traveled to those areas. This has led the CDC to conclude that their C. auris was locally acquired.

But regardless of where the patients caught the disease, the fact that yet another untreatable infection is out there is the real cause for alarm.


Photo: CDC / Dr. William Kaplan – Microscopic tissue changes seen in candidiasis. via www.cidrap.umn.edu/


This article (Fatal Fungal Infection Emerges in U.S. for First Time, Has Already Killed Four Patients) by Kurtis Bright appeared first on Natural Blaze. It can only be republished with attribution to author, article source and Natural Blaze keeping all links, bio and this message intact.

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