CDC Says NJ Has Third-Most Hospitalizations with Drug-Resistant Fungus

CDC Says NJ Has Third-Most Hospitalizations with Drug-Resistant Fungus

CDC Says NJ Has Third-Most Hospitalizations with Drug-Resistant Fungus

- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a warning after healthcare facilities in several countries reported severe illness and death due to a drug-resistant fungus. Since then, as of February 2019, cases have been reported from 32 countries across the world - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela - largely in hospitals.

The elderly man, who was not named by the Times, was isolated in the intensive care unit, but died 90 days later.

The fungus, called Candida auris, is constantly evolving its defences to survive modern medicines, and has also proven to be deadly. As you can see from the map below, New York, New Jersey, and IL have seen the most cases by far-with more than 550 cases between them.

Candida auris can cause different types of infections, including bloodstream infection, wound infection, and ear infection.

It's part of a surge of infections contracted in healthcare facilities that have become immune to antibiotics.

For decades, public health experts have warned that the overuse of antibiotics was reducing the effectiveness of drugs that have lengthened lifespans by curing bacterial infections once commonly fatal.

The germ has been found in patients of all ages, from preterm infants to older adults.

It is called Candida auris (C. auris) and they are concerned for three main reasons.

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Candida auris is transmitted in health care settings, spreading person to person or through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment. Treatments still exist but it is resistant to many antifungal drugs and has developed new mechanisms of resistance in some patients within weeks.

People with highly weakened Immune System are at higher risk of getting infected apart from newborns.

Candida auris can be challenging to identify because the symptoms are so similar to the flu or common cold that testing for the fungus is often overlooked. More than 90 percent of C. auris infections are resistant to at least one major anti-fungal drugs, while 30 percent are resistant to two or more.

Candida auris shown on a petri dish.

Some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications, making them hard to treat.

"It's an enormous problem", said Matthew Fisher, a professor of fungal epidemiology at Imperial College London, who was a co-author of a recent scientific review on the rise of resistant fungi. Recently discovery of resistant fungi in addition to resistant bacteria, compounds the situation and raises the risk level to a new high.

"It will be important to understand how these technologies can be applied to the control of Candida auris", she said.

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