Washington confirms 1st C. auris outbreak after infections at Seattle hospital

Washington health officials are investigating the state's first known outbreak of Candida auris after at least five cases were confirmed among patients at Kindred Hospital Seattle-First Hill. 

Washington saw its first case of the drug-resistant fungus last July. The individual tested positive at Kindred — an 80-bed long-term acute care hospital — during an admission screening. Prior to that, the man had spent several weeks at Tacoma, Wash.-based St. Joseph Medical Center. No additional cases were reported at the time. 

In the first half of January, Seattle and King County health officials were notified of another patient who tested positive for C. auris upon admission to Kindred. In a blog post, health officials said the case was identified through a proactive screening program in which all patients are screened upon at the time of admission. 

"The intent of the program is to detect cases early-on to help prevent spread," the post said. 

During the week of Jan. 22, three more cases were confirmed in patients at the hospital, all of whom tested negative when they were first admitted. 

"Public health continues to work together with Kindred to help limit the spread," the health department said, adding that Kindred is notifying hospitals that received patients who were previously at the facility. "This includes keeping patients who test positive for C. auris away from other patients to reduce the risk of spread and using specific disinfecting cleaning products effective for C. auris."

The CDC has deemed the fungus an urgent public health threat due to its resistance to multiple antifungal treatments, its ability to spread quickly and cause severe infections among immunocompromised people. Read more about C. auris here

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