Alert over deadly fungus found in South African hospitals

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Candida Auris seems to have appeared locations all over the world, including South Africa, the United States, Venezuela, Pakistan and other countries.

Candida Auris, a drug-resistant fungus can cause death and serious illnesses in people with weakened immune systems. It appears to thrive in healthcare settings and is raising concerns among experts worldwide. Treatments still exist but it is resistant to many anti fungal drugs and has developed new mechanisms of resistance in some patients within weeks.

This deadly fungus was first documented in 2009 after appearing in the ear of a 70-year-old woman in Japan.

According to the Times, an elderly man was sickened by the fungus last year at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, after being admitted for abdominal surgery. He died after 90 days.

Afterwards, the hospital “needed special cleaning equipment” and ended up removing “some of the ceiling and floor tiles” in the man’s room in order to get rid of the fungus.

Cultured C. auris in a petri dish. Some strains of it are resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs.

How to prevent infection:

It is important to focus on hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and antibiotic stewardship – a concept where professionals make sure that antibiotics are used merely when they are needed.

C. auris is difficult to identify, and is only detectable by a lab test. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), has labeled it a “serious global health threat.”

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