The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a warning about a dangerous fungus, Candida auris or C. auris, that poses an urgent antimicrobial resistance threat and is spreading rapidly in Florida and across more than half of the U.S. states. This fungus, first detected in the United States in 2016, is concerning due to its resistance to antifungal drugs, making it challenging to treat infections.
C. auris is not only resistant to antifungal drugs but also difficult to identify with standard lab tests, making early and proper treatment even more challenging. The fungus spread at an alarming rate between 2020 and 2021 in healthcare facilities and has continued to spread in 2022. By the end of 2022, there were more than 8,000 instances of Candida auris identified across 28 states and Washington D.C.
While C. auris usually isn’t a significant threat to healthy people, it poses a significant threat in healthcare settings. The fungus can enter patients’ bloodstreams and cause severe, deadly infections. Those most vulnerable include sick people, long-term hospital patients, and patients with invasive medical devices like catheters or IVs.
The strain put on the healthcare system by the COVID-19 pandemic may have allowed the fungus to spread more quickly. The CDC emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control.
In conclusion, the rapid rise and geographic spread of C. auris cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued vigilance in healthcare settings. The CDC’s warning serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges in managing antimicrobial resistance threats.