Candida auris (C. auris) is an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast (a type of fungus). It has caused severe infections in hospitalized patients and nursing home residents. C. auris can persist on surfaces and spreads easily between patients in healthcare facilities.1 C. auris may not be accurately identified using standard laboratory methods. For these reasons, proper infection control measures are important to prevent its spread. C. auris has been identified in over 30 countries worldwide including the United States and has been the cause of numerous outbreaks at healthcare facilities. C. auris has caused infections at numerous sites including surgical wounds and the inner ear. It has also been isolated from respiratory and urine specimens, although it’s ability to cause infections of the respiratory or urinary tract remains unclear. C. auris is also capable of causing serious, even fatal, bloodstream infections and invasive disease.2
Infections have been found in patients of all ages, from preterm infants to the elderly. People who have recently spent time in nursing homes and those who have invasive medical devices such as breathing tubes, feeding tubes and central venous catheters seem to be at highest risk for C. auris infection. Other risk factors are similar to those observed for other types of Candida infection and include recent surgery, diabetes, and treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics or antifungal agents. CDC recommends that anyone who believes they may have a fungal or healthcare-associated infection contact their healthcare provider.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Symptoms of C. auris infection are often dependent on the location of the infection. C. auris has been implicated as the cause of bloodstream infections, wound infections, and ear infections. For severe or invasive C. auris infections, fever and chills are common. Many C. auris infections are treatable, however, some C. auris infections have demonstrated resistance to the three main classes of antifungal drugs currently in clinical use. Infections caused by highly drug-resistant strains of C. auris are much more difficult to treat.
C. auris has caused severe invasive infections, particularly in very ill patients with underlying medical conditions. Severe infection caused by any Candida species can be fatal and it is not known if invasive C. auris infection has a higher mortality rate than invasive infection caused by other Candida species. Based on information from a limited number of patients, 30–60% of people with C. auris infections have died.
HOW IS IT TRANSMITTED?
C. auris can spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated environmental surfaces or equipment where it can persist for several weeks. It can also spread directly from person to person.3
HOW IS IT CONTROLLED?
The most important infection control measures for C. auris in acute care hospitals and high acuity post-acute care settings are as follows:3
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