According to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a drug-resistant and potentially lethal fungal infection caused by Candida auris, commonly known as C. auris, has rapidly spread throughout healthcare facilities in the United States. This yeast infection can cause severe illnesses in individuals with compromised immune systems. The study reports a sharp increase in diagnosed infections and individuals carrying C. auris since its initial discovery in the US. The findings highlight a concerning trend and emphasize the need for heightened surveillance and preventative measures in healthcare settings to control the spread of this dangerous fungus.
C. auris can be present on the skin and inside the body. While it is not harmful to healthy individuals, those who are already ill or have weakened immune systems are at risk of developing severe infections. C. auris is known to cause bloodstream infections, wound infections, and ear infections, among other types of infections. Alarmingly, approximately one-third of individuals infected with C. auris have died from the illness. The Annals of Internal Medicine recently released a CDC warning that coincides with the Mississippi Department of Health’s efforts to contain an increase in C. auris. As of November, at least 12 individuals have contracted the fungus, with four potential fatalities, as reported by Dr. Paul Byers, the state’s epidemiologist.
In an interview, Dr. Meghan Lyman, the lead author of the CDC study on Candida auris or C. auris, expressed concern about the significant rise in reported cases, particularly in recent years. Dr. Lyman, who also serves as the chief medical officer in the CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch, emphasized that the increase in infections is not limited to regions with the ongoing transmission but has also been observed in new areas.