Chlorhexidine proves effective at knocking out multidrug-resistant yeast, study finds

The disinfectant chlorhexidine can successfully combat the growth of the yeast Candida auris, according to a new report in the CDC's journal Emerging Infectious Disease.

The potentially deadly fungal infection — identified in the U.S. for the first time last year — is an emerging pathogen with the capacity to develop antifungal-resistant biofilms, which could potentially adhere to medical instruments. The yeast has displayed resistance to all three major classes of antifungal medications.

To determine the yeast's susceptibility to disinfectants, researchers tested seven antifungal agents: fluconazole, voriconazole, caspofungin, micafungin, liposomal amphotericin B, amphotericin B and chlorhexidine. While amphotericin B also displayed efficacy, chlorhexidine proved most effective in inhibiting the yeast's biofilm growth.

"We showed that chlorhexidine is effective against C. auris planktonic and sessile communities. Thus, use of this disinfectant can be advocated for topical control of C. auris at standard concentrations used for skin and wound cleansing and disinfection. Infection-prevention measures targeting C. auris biofilms in patients, on medical devices and in the hospital environment will be required," concluded the study's authors.

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