Candida auris: 8 updates on the drug-resistant fungus

U.S. health officials continue to keep a close eye on the spread of Candida auris, a deadly, drug-resistant fungus the CDC has identified in 18 states and Washington D.C., between May 2020 and April 2021. 

Seven more things to know: 

1. Michigan reported its first case of the superbug fungus in May. The fungus was detected in ear drainage from a 76-year-old man with a history of chronic ear infections. No additional C. auris infections were identified in relation to the case, health officials said. 

2. C. auris also made headlines after the CDC said it had identified two clusters of untreatable infections at healthcare facilities in Texas and Washington, D.C., since January. This marks the first time the fungus has been detected in people who never received antifungal medication, suggesting it may have spread from person to person, the agency said in a July 23 report. 

3. The CDC began tracking the fungus in 2016. At that time, cases had been detected in four states: Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. Between May, 2020 and April 30, 2021, 948 new cases had been reported across 18 states. New York had reported 302 C. auris infections, the highest in the U.S. 

4. If it enters the bloodstream, C. auris can cause serious invasive infections. Between 30 to 60 percent of people who develop infections have died, according to the CDC. The agency also notes the estimate is based on information from a limited number of patients, many of whom had other serious conditions that increased their death risk. 

5. "Patients who have been hospitalized in a healthcare facility for a long time, have a central venous catheter, or other lines or tubes entering their body, or have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast," the CDC said. 

6. In addition to demonstrating multidrug resistance, the fungus is concerning because it is difficult to identify with standard lab tests and is associated with outbreaks in healthcare settings, according to the CDC. 

7. C. auris was first identified in 2009 in Japan and has since been detected in more than 30 countries.

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