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Killer Yeast Infections on the Rise
There’s a new strain of deadly and drug-resistant yeast that’s sweeping across the globe, according to health officials. Reports from healthcare facilities all over the world claim a type of fungus called “Candida auris” is responsible for severe and fatal infections. The yeast is in the same family of bacteria that causes thrush, but while thrush can happen in the mouth and genitals, Candida auris gets into the respiratory and urinary tracts.
Candida auris can infiltrate the respiratory and urinary tracts which means it can get into a person’s bloodstream and spread throughout the body, resulting in serious invasive infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports.
Both the CDC and Public Health England issued warnings to hospitals this week to be on the lookout for the strain, which is hard to identify with standard lab testing.
The fungus has been identified in Columbia, Pakistan, Venezuela, South Korea, Kuwait, India and South Africa.
Based upon information from a limited number of patients, 60 percent of people with the infection has perished, the Centers for Disease Control stated. However, many of these individuals has other serious illnesses that also increased their chances of an early death.
In the United Kingdom, eight patients were identified in 2013, followed by an outbreak that affected 40 patients in 2015. However, with such limited reports it’s not possible to calculate the infection’s prevalence.
The strain of yeast does not respond to the majority of commonly used antifungal medicines. It could also be mistaken for a milder form of yeast infection, which in turn leaves patients vulnerable. PHE and the CDC have sent out guidance information on how healthcare practitioners should test for infections, as well as how to manage and prevent them.
Early evidence suggests it could be spread through contact with contaminated environmental surfaces or equipment or via person to person, but more research is needed on how it’s exactly transmitted.
Conclusion to the Study:
C. auris was first identified in 2009, after being isolated from the external ear discharge of a patient in Japan. Since that time, C. auris infections have been reported all over the world. It’s unknown why the infection emerged in so many locations recently. Molecular typing of the strains performed by the CDC suggests the isolates are highly related within a country or region, but very distinct between continents.
Healthcare facilities that suspect a patient has C. auris should contact state and local health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control immediately. Until further information becomes available, healthcare facilities should place patients with C. auris colonization or infection in isolation and healthcare practitioners should observe Standard and Contact Precautions.
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