Candida auris

Description:
Candida auris is a species of fungus first described in 2009, which grows as yeast. It is one of the few species of the genus Candida which cause candidiasis in humans. Often, candidiasis is acquired in hospitals by patients with weakened immune systems. C. auris can cause invasive candidiasis (fungemia) in which the bloodstream, the central nervous system, and internal organs are infected. It has recently attracted increased attention because of its multiple drug resistance. Treatment is also complicated because it is easily misidentified as other Candida species. C. auris was first described after it was isolated from the ear canal of a 70-year-old Japanese woman at the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital in Japan in 2009. In 2011 South Korea saw its first cases of disease-causing C. auris. Reportedly, this spread across Asia and Europe, and first appeared in the U.S. in 2013. DNA analysis of four distinct but drug-resistant strains of Candida auris indicate an evolutionary divergence taking place at least 4,000 years ago, with a common leap among the four varieties into drug-resistance possibly linked to widespread azole-type antifungal use in agriculture.

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Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat. Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that C. auris has caused severe illness in hospitalized patients. Some strains of Candida auris are resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs. This type of multidrug resistance has not been seen before in other species of Candida.

Symptoms:
This is where things get a little tricky. The most common symptoms are a fever and chills that don’t get better with antibiotic treatment, the CDC says. But, given that people who develop the infection usually have another underlying illness, it can be tough to spot Candida auris from symptoms alone.

Once it takes hold, the fungal infection can get into a person’s bloodstream or wounds and cause serious health issues like sepsis. “A patient’s temperature may go up, their blood pressure can go down, and they have complications of a preexisting illness because of Candida auris,” Dr. Schaffner says. The fungal infection has a high mortality rate (more than one in three patients with invasive Candida auris die, according to CDC data), but it’s tricky for doctors to say whether a person died from the fungal infection or their underlying illness. “Whatever the cause, having Candida auris doesn’t help a patient in any way,” Dr. Schaffner says.

Causes:
C. auris has caused bloodstream infections, wound infections, and ear infections. It also has been isolated from respiratory and urine specimens, but it is unclear if it causes infections in the lung or bladder.

Diagnosis:
C. auris is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods and can be misidentified in labs without specific technology.

Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that C. auris has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients. In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. This yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat. Patients who have been in the intensive care unit for a long time or have a central venous catheter placed in a large vein, and have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast.

Specialized laboratory methods are needed to accurately identify C. auris. Conventional lab techniques could lead to misidentification and inappropriate treatment, making it difficult to control the spread of C. auris in healthcare settings.

CDC is concerned about C. auris for three main reasons:

1.It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.

2.It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management.

3.It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in a hospitalized patient so that healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread.

Prevention:
In general, it comes down to “meticulous infection control,” Dr. Adalja says. That means that hospital and nursing home rooms need to be well cleaned and that people interacting with patients need to practice good hand hygiene, which will kill the infection. “There’s no other way to prevent it,” Dr. Adalja says.

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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candida_auris
https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/index.html
https://www.medicinenet.com/candida_auris_c_auris/article.htm#candida_auris_c_auris_facts
https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a27074966/superbug-fungus-candida-auris-symptoms/

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