The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported continued outbreaks of the drug-resistant superbug Candida Auris at a Washington, DC nursing home and two Dallas-area hospitals on Thursday, July 22.
The clusters in the two cities appear to be unrelated to each other, the report said. The 30-day mortality in both outbreaks combined was 30%, although other health conditions may have played a role.
Candida Auris is a fungus that preys on persons with weakened immune systems. The fungus can cause wound infections or bloodstream infections, which can be fatal.
People who have been hospitalized a long time or who have breathing tubes, feeding tubes or central venous catheters appear to be at highest risk, reported CBS News.
From January to April, 123 cases were discovered at two Dallas-area hospitals and a nursing home in Washington, DC. According to the CDC, three of the five patients who did not respond to therapy died, two in Texas and Washington, DC.
Since April, more infections have been discovered, but the new data is not included in Thursday’s report.
From January to April 2021, three cases of the fungus were reported in Washington, D.C., and three were found to be resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs.
Those incidents took place in a long-term care home for terminally ill patients.
During the same period, 22 instances were discovered in Texas, two of which were resistant to all three antifungal drugs and five of which were resistant to two of them.
For the first time in the United States, it appears that the drug-resistant strain that causes fever and chills has passed from patient to patient.
“This is the first time we’ve seen clusters of pan-resistant C. auris, which suggests spread within U.S. healthcare facilities,” Dr. Meghan Lyman of the CDC said in a statement, reported NY Post.
“While we’ve only seen a small number of cases, it’s likely that there are more cases not being identified,” Lyman said. “So we are urging healthcare facilities to take proactive steps to identify and prevent spread of this fungus so that it does not gain a foothold in their patient population.”
Earlier cases in New York in 2019 were similarly resistant to medication, but there was no evidence that the patients had passed the disease to one another.
According to a CDC information sheet, the deadly yeast was initially discovered in Asia in 2009 before spreading worldwide.