What You Should Know About Candida auris, an Emerging Pathogen That Can Be Very Difficult to Treat

By the bioMérieux Connection Editors

A previously little-known fungus, Candida auris (C. auris), has recently made headlines because of its rapid, deadly emergence in healthcare facilities around the globe—and because of secrecy surrounding outbreaks. According to the New York Times, healthcare facilities have expressed hesitancy to notify the general public because they do not want people to panic unnecessarily.

However, C. auris infections have become increasingly common, and they are more frequently resistant to antifungal drugs doctors use to treat them. Scientists have been attempting to determine the origin of C. auris, but it has been difficult because the pathogen seems to have appeared in several places around the world simultaneously.

A CDC study found that almost half of patients who contracted a C. auris infection died within 90 days, although these patients all had serious underlying medical conditions, so the number of deaths directly attributable to C. auris infection is unknown. Having a serious medical condition can be a risk factor for becoming infected with C. auris. Besides being difficult to treat, C. auris infections are also hard to identify, and require specialized testing.

So, what should you know and do when it comes to C. auris infections?

Who is at Risk:

  • C. auris mostly affects patients who already have medical problems, have frequent hospital stays, live in nursing homes, or have weakened immune systems.
  • Healthy people typically don’t get C. auris infections.

Symptoms and Testing:

  • Symptoms can vary widely, depending on the health of the person infected and the part of the body that’s affected.
  • Lab tests are required to determine if a patient has a C. auris infection.

C. auris Treatment:

  • C. auris infections are usually treatable with echinocandins, a class of antifungal medications.
  • Some infections are resistant to all three available classes of antifungals, which makes them difficult to treat. In those cases, multiple medications at high doses may be needed.

For more information about C. auris, you can download the CDC’s C. auris General Information fact sheet, or visit their website.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of bioMérieux, Inc.

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