Louisiana reports first C. auris cases

University Medical Center New Orleans, part of LCMC Health, reported Louisiana's first two known cases of Candida auris, a deadly, drug-resistant fungus, on Jan. 18,  according to nola.com.

Citing patient privacy concerns, hospital officials did not address questions related to whether the two infected patients had been transferred from other healthcare facilities, when the infections were first identified, or whether the patients had recently traveled internationally. 

The hospital's CMO, Nirav Patel, MD, said it's likely the fungus has gone undetected in the state. "This bug could have been here in Louisiana for quite some time," he said. "These cases have been happening in the continental U.S. in large numbers." 

CDC data shows 1,156 clinical cases of C. auris were reported from Sept. 1, 2020, to Aug. 31, 2021. In addition, routine screening identified 3,043 patients colonized by the superbug fungus.

"Since it was first recognized, Candida auris has caused an increasing number of infections in healthcare settings, some severe cases in immunocompromised patients," said Julio Figueroa, MD, an infection prevention specialist at LCMC Health, according to nola.com. Dr. Figueroa added it's "still rare in the U.S. and many people who get invasive Candida infections already have serious underlying conditions." 

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. 

Oregon health officials in December also reported the state's first C. auris outbreak. 

To learn more about C. auris, click here

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