The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported an increase in cases of a deadly fungus. Since some of the cases were found in Illinois and Indiana, your BBB® wants to let readers know about the fungus.
As of August 2016 only 7 cases of the deadly fungus, candida auris (C. auris), were reported. As of May 2017, there have been 77 clinical cases reported in the following states: New York (53 cases), New Jersey (16), Illinois (four), Indiana (one), Maryland (one), Massachusetts (one), and Oklahoma (one).
In addition, the CDC tested 390 close contacts of the 77 patients and found 45 more cases. Many of the patients were in health care facilities. Environmental testing of patients’ rooms identified the fungus on mattresses, beds, windowsills, chairs, infusion pumps, and countertops. After thoroughly cleaning the rooms with a sodium hypochlorite-based disinfectant, no c. auris was found.
What makes the fungus so deadly is (1) that it can cause serious bloodstream infections, wound infections, ear infections, fever, and low blood pressure. It is also suspected in possible lung and bladder infections. (2) In addition, it is easily transmitted from person to person and can also spread through contact with contaminated environmental surfaces or equipment.
(3) It requires specialized lab methods to accurately identify it. (4) Most dangerous of all, it is resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications. It has killed 30% – 60% of people with C. auris infections, but some of those people had other serious illnesses that also increased their risk of death.
CDC recommends that anyone who believes they have any fungal infection or healthcare-associated infection see a healthcare provider.
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