Candida auris has been making headlines this week. The drug resistant disease has killed 617 patients in 12 states. Compared to the 23,000 US deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant bacterium each year, why is C. auris creating a healthcare panic?
Almost half of patients infected with C. auris do not survive.
"We were really hoping it wasn't here yet, to be honest with you," Tom Chiller, MD, MPHTM, chief of the Mycotic Diseases Branch at the CDC, said in an interview with CIDRAP. “This is definitely a hospital-transmitted organism.”
The Center for Disease Control has outlined three main reasons for the increased concern:
C. auris is hard to treat
C. auris is hard to detect
C. auris causes outbreaks in healthcare settings
They also suggest a hand hygiene protocol of using alcohol-based hand sanitizer or hand washing with soap and water, before and after donning gloves.
Good consistent hand washing among hospital staff can help curb the spread of the infection, but patients should be coached on good hygiene habits as well. According to a recent study from the University of Michigan, “Fourteen percent of 399 hospital patients had 'superbug' antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their hands or nostrils early in their hospital stay, and nearly a third of tests for such bacteria on objects that patients commonly touch came back positive." This does not mean the all patients carrying the superbug were infected. However, it does remind caregivers that hand washing habits should be stressed beyond just the staff.
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Center for Infection and Disease Prevention Policy (CIDRAP). Available at: ttp://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2017/07/cdc-keeping-watchful-eye-candida-auris Last accessed 20th July, 2017.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. General Information about Candida auris. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/candida-auris-qanda.html
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Infection Prevention and Control for Candida auris. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/c-auris-infection-control.html
Science Daily, "Superbuds" found on many hospital patient' hands and what they touch most. Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan: 14 April, 2019. Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190414111500.htm