Deadly US fungal cases exceed 1,000; EPA registers first disinfectants

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Cases of deadly fungus Candida auris in the U.S. rose to 1,018 by the end of 2019, the CDC reported.

The number of cases jumped by about 80 since Oct. 31, when the CDC reported 941 cases of the infection in the country.

New York has seen the highest number of C. auris cases in the country with 465, followed by Illinois with 292 and New Jersey with 177. C. auris cases have also been documented across the world, including Australia, Canada, China, Germany and Kenya.

C. auris tends to be resistant to antifungal drugs and can be hard to treat. Last year, three patients were identified in New York with cases of pan-resistant C. auris infections, that is, resistant to all three classes of commonly prescribed antifungal drugs. C. auris can live on surfaces in healthcare environments, which can result in it spreading quickly among patients.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered 11 products that can be used to disinfect surfaces against C. auris Feb. 12 — the first disinfectants to be specifically developed for use against the deadly fungus.

Here are the product brand names for the disinfectants registered:

• Avert Sporicidal Disinfectant Cleaner
• Blondie
• Dagwood
• Micro-Kill Bleach Germicidal Bleach Wipes
• Oxivir 1
• Oxivir 1 Wipes
• Oxivir Wipes
• Oxycide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner
• Virasept
• Wonder Woman Formula B Germicidal Wipes
• Wonder Woman Formula B Spray

"The global emergence of C. auris in recent years is concerning for a number of reasons — it causes severe and sometimes deadly illness, it's very hard to treat, and it's difficult to prevent it from spreading within healthcare facilities," said Tom Chiller, MD, chief of the CDC's mycotic diseases branch. "We are encouraged by the progress being made to study new agents and methods for eliminating C. auris from surfaces in healthcare environments, and we need to continue to be vigilant and respond rapidly to be able to control this organism."

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