All about ‘Candida auris’, the fungus that has caused an “urgent threat” in the U.S. and usually causes death in as little as 90 days

All about ‘Candida auris’, the fungus that has caused an “urgent threat” in the U.S. and usually causes death in as little as 90 days

Just when the series The Last of Us is a hit worldwide have increased cases of infection by a super drug-resistant fungus in the United States. It is the fungus Candida aurisa potentially lethal microorganism.

Infections grew dramatically in the U.S. between 2019 and 2021, according to a study published Monday in the trade journal Annals of Internal Medicine. It is already present in more than half of the 50 U.S. states.. Researchers warn of an increase in cases that are resistant to echinocandins, the main drug used to treat infections with the fungus. Candida.

Archival image of Candida auris fungus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sounded the alarm. Throughout 2021, state and local health departments across the country reported 1,474 clinical cases, about a 200% increase over the nearly 500 cases in 2019. The Spread of the fungus continues, with 2,377 reported in 2022. infections.

WHO has already warned

They claim it is an “urgent threat” because it is often resistant to multiple drugs, spreads easily through health care settings And can cause fatal disease. And more. The Candida auris is also resistant to some common disinfectants and can be on people’s skin without causing symptoms, which facilitates its spread to other individuals.

They are a major threat to public health, as they are increasingly common and resistant to treatment with just four classes of drugs.”

The CDC’s alert follows the World Health Organization’s late 2022 alert, when it issued its first list of priority fungal pathogens. “They represent a major threat to public health, as they are. increasingly common and resistant to treatment with only four classes of antifungal drugs currently available,” WHO said. And the list included the Candida auris.

What are fungi?

Before we get a little closer acquainted with the fungus in question, a little basic science. Biology describes nature in five kingdoms: animal, plant, protoctista, monera, and fungi. (Latin for fungi). This kingdom of nature designates, among others, molds, yeasts and mushroom-producing organisms. It is the closest kingdom phylogenetically to animals.

What is ‘Candida auris’?

Genus Candida has several species of fungi and C. auris is one of them. It is a species of fungus that grows like yeast. Its name comes from the word aurisLatin ear. It forms slimy, smooth, shiny, whitish, ellipse-shaped colonies.

Why is it a dangerous fungus?

Candida auris is one of the few that causes candidiasis in humans, often acquired in hospitals by patients with weakened immune systems. This microorganism can cause invasive candidiasis in which the bloodstream, central nervous system and internal organs are infected.

What is invasive candidiasis?

Candidiases include infections ranging from superficial, such as oral candidiasis and vaginitis, to systemic and potentially life-threatening, known as candidemias. Generally are limited to immunocompromised personssuch as cancer, transplant or AIDS patients or even non-traumatic emergency surgery patients.

Since when is it a danger?

Candida auris was first described in 2009 at Tokyo Metropolitan Hospital. It was isolated from the ear canal of a 70-year-old woman. The first disease-causing cases emerged in South Korea in 2011. It then spread through Asia and Europe to reach the US in 2013.

Do those infected die early?

In North America, nearly half of the patients who contract Candida auris die within 90 days. Meghan Lyman, a physician with the CDC’s fungal diseases branch, reminds that people who become infected also have to deal with multiple other health issues, collects The New York Times. That is, the fungus may have helped them die but need not be the main cause.

What are the symptoms?

Candida auris usually affects elderly patients, especially those who are long-term or long-term visitors to health care facilities, where it can be difficult to clear or eradicate. Those who contract it may experience typical symptoms of infection, such as fever and chills, which may intensify in the absence of treatment.

Has Covid helped the fungus?

CDC experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the spread of this fungus. It is likely that by focusing attention on Covid-19, less emphasis was placed on screening for Candida auris.

Is it easy to transmit?

The fungus tends to adhere to respirators and medical equipment.and also to nursing gowns, gloves and other personal protective equipment that, ideally, would be changed frequently, but were reused during the pandemic due to supply shortages.

That explains why even young people -who are not at risk because their immune system can fight the fungus – can carry it on their skin and clothing.

Is it that hard to diagnose?

Candida auris is a major threat for two reasons. First, it is a multidrug-resistant pathogenand therefore requires rapid and accurate diagnosis.

The second is that, precisely, making that diagnosis is not easy. With current molecular diagnostic methods it is confused with other species of the genus Candida. That involves further testing, such as PCR or other tests.

Kayleigh Williams