Monday , October 25 2021

Candida auris: The new super block bug



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Drug resistant mushrooms, Candida auriswas only discovered 10 years ago, but is now one of the worst hospital germs in the world.

There have been outbreaks around the world and new studies show that higher temperatures can lead to an increase in infections.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called for a better understanding of who is most vulnerable to risk reduction.

Here's everything you need to know about this new super.

What is Candida auris?

Candida auris (C. auris) is a yeast, a type of fungus that can cause infections in humans.

It is associated with the very common Candida albicans, which causes thrush.

It was first discovered in the ear canal of a Japanese patient at Tokyo Geriatric Hospital in Tokyo in 2009.

Most of the time, Candida yeast lives on our skin without causing problems, but they can cause infections if we are unwell or fall into the wrong place, such as the blood system or lungs.

What kind of illness causes it?

C. auris most commonly causes bloodstream infections, but it can also infect the respiratory system, central nervous system and internal organs, as well as the skin.

These infections are usually quite serious. Worldwide, up to 60% of patients receiving C. auris infection have died.

The fungus is often resistant to common medicines, making it difficult to treat infections.

Also, C. auris is often mistaken for a different infection, leading to wrong treatment.

This means that the patient may be ill for a long time or worsen.

"A number of UK hospitals have already had outbreaks requiring public health support from England," says Dr Elaine Clotman-Greene, a practitioner of infection control and a clinical educator at UCL.

She added: "C. auris survives in a hospital setting, so cleaning is key to control. Detection can be serious for both patients and the hospital, as control can be difficult."

Dr Colin Brown, a medical microbiologist consultant at the National Public Health Service in England, said: "NHS hospitals that have had C. auris outbreaks have not identified this as the cause of death in any patient.

"PHE works closely with the NHS to provide expert support and advice on infection control measures to limit the spread of C. auris."

Do I have to worry about getting infected?

You are unlikely to take C. auris infection.

However, the risk is higher if you are in a hospital for a long time or if you are in a nursing home and patients who are in intensive care are much more likely to get C. auris infection.

The risk of getting an infection is also higher if you have taken a lot of antibiotics because the medicines also destroy the good bacteria that can stop the entry of C. auris.

In the UK, about 60 patients have been infected with C. auris since 2013.

US Centers for Disease Control reports that more and more countries are reporting cases of C. auris infections worldwide.

Most European countries have reported some, with Greece being the last – in April this year.

Why is C. auris resistant to common medicines?

Resistance to common antifungal drugs, such as fluconazole, has been found in most C. auris strains found in patients.

This means that these drugs do not act on C. auris. Therefore, less often antifungal drugs have been used to treat these infections, but C. auris has also developed resistance to them.

DNA evidence shows that the genes for C. auris antifungal resistance are very similar to those found in the very common C. albincans.

This suggests that resistant genes have passed from one species to another.

How can climate change be responsible for a large number of infections?

Research suggests that the reason why C. auris infections have become so common may be because the species has been forced to live at higher temperatures due to climate change.

Most mushrooms prefer the cooler temperatures found in the soil. But as global temperatures rise, C. auris is forced to adapt to higher temperatures.

This may have facilitated the fungus to thrive in the human body, which is warm at 36C to 37C.

What can be done to reduce the number of infections?

A better understanding of who is most at risk of contracting C. auris infection is the first step to reducing the number of infections.

Healthcare professionals need to be aware that people who spend long hours in hospitals, nursing homes, or are immunocompromised are at high risk.

Not all hospitals identify C. auris in the same way. Sometimes they are confused with other fungal infections, such as thrush, and are assigned incorrect treatment.

Improving the diagnosis will help identify patients with C. auris early, which means that the right treatment is being prescribed – preventing the spread of the infection to other patients.

C. auris is very tough and can survive on surfaces for a long time.

In addition, it cannot be killed with the most commonly used detergents and disinfectants.

The use of appropriate cleaning chemicals is important for removal from hospitals, especially if there is a fire.

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