Deadly drug-resistant fungus spreading in America
As if Covid wasn't enough to worry about
A deadly fungal infection that is resistant to all existing drug treatments is currently spreading throughout nursing homes and hospitals in the United States, according to reports.
Outbreaks of Candida auris - an emerging yeast infection first identified in Asia back in 2009, were reported at a care home in Washington DC and two different hospitals in Dallas, Texas.
Most worryingly, upon identifying the cases and attempting to treat them with drugs, the fungus resisted all three major classes of medications.
The #US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has reported the outbreak of a drug resistant superbug fungus, named #CandidaAuris. The fungus preys on people with weak immune systems.@alysonle tells you more pic.twitter.com/Eu6HTfZ1fU
— WION (@WIONews) July 24, 2021
Dr Meghan Lyman, a medical officer at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) said “This is really the first time we’ve started seeing clustering of resistance” and that patients appear to be getting the infections from each other.
Candida auris is a particularly harmful form of yeast considered to be highly dangerous to those vulnerable in hospitals and nursing homes patients, especially those with serious health conditions.
It is believed to be most deadly when it enters the bloodstream, heart or brain. Much like drug-resistant flu viruses such as in forms of influenza, common symptoms include a fever and chills that persist even after antibiotic treatment.
Outbreaks in healthcare settings, already battling with controlling the spread of coronavirus, have been spurred by the fungus which has now been classed as an “urgent” threat by the CDC.
Health officials have reportedly been sounding alarms regarding the fungus for years; In 2019, doctors diagnosed three cases in New York that were even resistant to a class of drugs called echinocandins, which was considered a last line of defence.
These new untreatable cases started to be recorded between January and April this year and have continued to spread, though the full extent of the numbers has yet to be reported. A cluster of 101 individual Candida auris cases was found at the nursing home for severely sick patients mentioned above.
Lyman said both went on to say that the outbreak of the drug-resistant fungus is very much ongoing and a notable number of infections have been identified since April. Here's hoping it's something the CDC manages to get under control.