According to health officials, there have been thirteen deadly fungal infection cases in the United States in the last three years. Until now, only four of the patients died, the cause of death remaining to be determined.
It seems that Candida auris has been making victims all over the world. The CDC has warned hospitals to disinfect beds and salons with appropriate antifungal solutions after the 2009 death of a Japanese patient whose body rejected every form of treatment.
Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC, declared that the emergent threat must be dealt with as patients’ lives are at stake.
The thirteen confirmed deadly fungal infection cases were discovered over the course of four years from 2013 to 2016. Seven of them are detailed in the November 4th issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The remaining six are being kept under supervision.
According to the report, the seven cases were signaled in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland. It seems like all seven patients were already suffering from other conditions, their immune system being compromised. All patients received approximately two weeks of hospital treatment for their infection.
Moreover, two patients were hospitalized in the same location, and their fungal strains were almost identical. This is proof that Candida auris can spread from one patient to another inside the hospital walls.
Four of them died, but the CDC is yet to establish if the fungal infection was directly responsible for their death or it just contributed to the rapid decline of their otherwise compromised health.
The bad news is that more than 70 percent of the Candida auris strains that the CDC analyzed showed signs of resistance to conventional antifungal treatment.
The US strains originated from the same family as samples collected from South America and South Asia. However, the patients never had any direct contact or link with the other locations, suggesting that, while the strains were related, the infections had local sources.
For now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging hospitals to thoroughly disinfect every bed after a patient used it. Furthermore, they are advising doctors who encounter Candida auris cases to send them samples of the strain.
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