200 Cases of Drug Resistant Fungus Candida Auris Reported in Britain

August 15th, 2017

shutterstock_262916951-4118It has been reported that 200 people in 20 separate NHS trusts and independent hospitals have been infected or contaminated with a potentially lethal strain of Candida auris, a drug resistant fungus.

The fungus was first discovered in Japan, as a family of yeasts that can live on the skin or inside the body, which can cause issues with people with weakened immune systems, which can include in the worst and more virulent scenarios invasive candidiasis, in which the fungus enters and develops in the central nervous system, kidneys, bones, joints, muscles, eyes, spleen, liver or blood stream.

After its discovery in 2009, it spread, with a number of prolonged outbreaks in Pakistan, India, Columbia and Venezuela. The first infection in the UK was at Royal Brompton Hospital in October 2016. This current outbreak is

What makes C.auris so difficult to control is several-fold. First is that it has particular virulence amongst patients with already weakened immune systems. In particular, people who have been in hospital long-term, have had a catheter, had other tubes or lines in their body or have received anti-biotics or anti-fungal medicine are at the highest risk.

Along with this, it looks similar to other fungal infections, and with standard laboratory identification methods it can be hard to identify. Without specific sequencing equipment, it can be confused with other Candida species, which means it can be misidentified and mistreated.

Finally, and most concerning, C.auris has been found to be multidrug-resistent, which means a number of common anti-fungal drugs that are used to treat Candida infections have proven less effective. With that said, there are other anti-fungal drugs which have been proven to work

While this is a potentially dangerous infection owing to its resistances, it should be kept in mind that infections are generally minor, and Public Health England have noted that most of the cases in the UK are present but not causing disease are harm, and there is no evidence currently that any deaths in the UK have been attributed to it, although given the complications of identification this might simply be a result of limited information.

 

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