Health officials in the United States have reported 13 infections with C. auris, a “superbug” strain of yeast that survives all three major classes of anti-fungal medications.
Infections have only been reported in hospitalized patients who were already very sick. In some countries, 50% of patients died after developing bloodstream infections with C. auris.
The problem is that C. auris is hard to diagnose. It is easily mistaken for common yeasts. Conclusive diagnosis requires sequencing its DNA or using other highly-specialized molecular laboratory tests.
Infected patients remain colonized and contagious for months. C. auris has been found on everything from bed-rails to windowsills in hospital rooms of patients who were sick.
People who develop C. auris infections are usually very sick from other medical conditions, so it is hard to tell which symptoms are caused by C. auris or the underlying disease.
However, fever and chills that do not go away after anti-fungal treatment are the most common symptoms. Other symptoms depend on where it spreads. These infections are known as candidemia or invasive candidiasis.
C. auris was first discovered in 2009 from a patient in Japan with an ear infection. It is also known to cause bloodstream infections and wound infections. C. auris has been found on the skin, lungs, bladder, and rectum.
It is an emerging global threat. Since 2009, C. auris infections have been reported in Columbia, India, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, Venezuela, and the United Kingdom.
In the United States, 13 infections were reported between May 2013 and August 2016. Four of those patients died and C. auris was found in their blood, but it is not clear if it caused their deaths. The first seven cases were described in a report issued by the CDC on November 4.
Source: “Symptoms of Invasive Candidiasis” — CDC
See Also: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) — November 4, 2016, CDC.