Candida auris is a drug-resistant superbug fungus that the CDC says 'is a serious global health threat' and New York State has the most confirmed cases in the country.

A community health nurse tells us that there have been no confirmed cases of Candida auris in Oneida or Herkimer County, but they are watching the situation closely.

The superbug is a type of yeast called Candida auris and causes severe illness in hospitalized patients. It enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections that do not respond to antifungal drugs making it hard to treat. The CDC says:

Patients who have been hospitalized in a healthcare facility a long time, have a central venous catheter, or other lines or tubes entering their body, or have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast.

As of February 28, 2019, there have been 309 confirmed cases of the superbug in NYS with another 4 more probable.1056 patients are found to be carrying C. auris on their bodies, even though they are not sick with the infection.

cdc.gov

The CDC is concerned about C. auris for three main reasons:

  • It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
  • It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management.
  • It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in a hospitalized patient so that healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread.

Your best defense against the deadly fungus is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Parents should teach their children to wash their hands properly. If you have family members in the hospital or in a nursing home ask if there have been any confirmed cases, if they do, make sure the special precautions are being followed.

The chances of a healthy person becoming sick with C. auris is very low. Again there have been no confirmed cases of Candida auris in Oneida or Herkimer County, but they are watching the situation closely. WASH YOUR HANDS!