Everyone is familiar with the common yeast infection that can appear on your genitals or skin. But doctors are warning about a deadly, drug resistant yeast infection that has been spreading through hospitals around the world. Invasive yeast infections are especially dangerous for people recovering from surgery or in intensive care. What is Candida Auris? The drug resistant infection has been making the rounds at clinics throughout the globe.
Last week, the Centers for Disease control issued an alert warning that the infection could emerge in the United States.
The C. auris yeast strain is particularly frightening because it kills 30 to 50 percent of infected patients and appears to be immune to anti fungal medicine. Along with elderly people, diabetics, patients on strong antibiotics and those using catheters are also at risk.
“What concerned us is that it is potentially resistant to one or two, if not all three” classes of anti-fungal drugs used to fight these infections, Tom Chiller, the CDC’s top fungus expert, told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
Part of the problem is that the infection is very hard to detect. C. auris can masquerade as a common yeast infection and not all hospitals are equipped with the appropriate detection mechanisms.
Doctors can't figure out how the yeast infection spread so quickly around the world. It was first discovered in a Japanese patient in the form of an ear infection in 2009. Only one case since has occurred in the United States, in 2013. But the CDC is concerned because once the infection settles in a spot, it has a way of staying put. "This one seems to get into hospital settings and stay there," Chiller said.
The infection spreads through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, making sick patients even more vulnerable. The CDC recommends that anyone found to be infected, be given their own room, and that hospitals immediately contact the local health authorities if they suspect to be treating a patient with the infection.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities housing patients contaminated with C. auris infection should disinfect their rooms using an EPA-registered hospital grade disinfectant with a fungal claim, the CDC added.
While C. auris only affects a handful of people worldwide, anyone with loved ones in the hospital, or those who plan to spend significant time in hospital settings should be aware of the problem and work closely with doctors to ensure that this scary infection stays out of our healthcare facilities.