Deadly fungus Candida auris on the spread in US

This fungus has also been found on the skins of other patients making it more contagious

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The representational image shows fungus.— Unsplash/File
The representational image shows fungus.— Unsplash/File 

The infection of a deadly drug-resistant fungus known as Candida auris (C. auris) has been spreading in the US at an unprecedented pace since the COVID-19 pandemic, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced.

As per, the fungus is regarded by CDC as an urgent antimicrobial resistance (AMR) threat — resisting antifungal drugs and can easily spread in hospitals — and its infection rate has increased three folds in the past three years in which half of the states reported the infections.

Another concern was the reports of antifungal medicine echinocandins — prescribed for the treatment of C.auris — which is unable to treat the fungus.

According to CDC researchers in a paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, COVID-19 "likely drove part of the overall increase in cases".

As the healthcare staff was occupied with the pandemic, it has shifted the focus away from other such diseases, researchers noted.

This form of fungus does not cause any harm to healthy people; however, it can prove to strain and even be deadly to weak and hospitalised patients. It is also contagious and can infect ears, wounds and the bloodstream.

This fungus was first reported in 2009 in Japan and then reported in other countries. In the US, it was first reported in 2013.

The recent data from the past three years has shown a considerable surge in this deadly fungus; 476 in 2019, 756 in 2020, and 1,471 in 2021.

The initial cases reported were from travellers coming from abroad but the infections have increased domestically, authors highlighted.

This fungus has also been found on the skins of other patients making it more contagious.

Symptoms of Candida auris fungus

Those who get infected by this fungus are found to be already under medical care which makes it difficult to identify their infection.

CDC has noted that its common symptoms are chills and fever that do not get better even after the antibiotics and may lead to infections in other body parts such as the heart, and brain. It can only be detected by proper testing.

Those patients who are on ventilators, drips or under constant healthcare observation are at risk of contracting this fungus, CDC mentioned in its report.

CDC has expressed its concerns over the spread and urged to monitor this infection closely by increasing the capacity of testing and proper preventive treatment.