Candida Auris: Mysterious and dangerous fungal infection

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Candida Auris: Mysterious and dangerous fungal infection
Candida Auris: Mysterious and dangerous fungal infection

A mysterious and dangerous fungal infection called Candida auris has emerged around the world.

Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that a type of yeast called Candida 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 hospitalized in a healthcare facility a long time, have a central venous catheter, or other lines or tubes entering their body, or have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast.

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

Who is at risk for infection from C. auris?

Limited data suggest that the risk factors for Candida auris infections are generally similar to risk factors for other types of Candida infections. These risk factors include recent surgery, diabetes, broad-spectrum antibiotic and antifungal use. People who have recently spent time in nursing homes and have lines and tubes that go into their body (such as breathing tubes, feeding tubes and central venous catheters), seem to be at highest risk for C. auris infection. Infections have been found in patients of all ages, from preterm infants to the elderly. Further study is needed to learn more about risk factors for C. auris infection.

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Can a person die from infection with C. auris?

Yes. Invasive infections with any Candida species can be fatal. We don’t know if patients with invasive C. auris infection are more likely to die than patients with other invasive Candida infections. Based on information from a limited number of patients, 30–60% of people with C. auris infections have died. However, many of these people had other serious illnesses that also increased their risk of death.

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