Scientists Worry Over Worldwide Rise of Mysterious Drug-Resistant Infection

Brittany Mendoza
April 12, 2019

The state's number of cases - now the third-highest after NY and IL - has risen in tandem with an increase, first overseas, and now in the United States, in a trend that some doctors attribute to the overuse of drugs to treat infections, prompting the mutation of infection sources, in this case, a fungus.

As of March 18, the Department of Health for NY said it had recorded 309 cases of the disease where the patient fell ill while it found an additional 429 cases where people carried the disease on their body but weren't infected. It's a process that can take many years and in the meantime, the frontline in the fight against antimicrobial resistance is hygiene, says Brunke. Candida auris made headlines after it was reported by the New York Times Mount Sinai Hospital had to rip a room apart to get rid of a candida infestation. The fungus has caused illnesses globally with reports in more than 20 countries.

Healthcare institutions here have measures in place to prevent and control healthcare-related infections, including C. auris, and are required to report any outbreaks, but no outbreak was reported, the spokesman said.

"People have various types of fungus in their body and also in surroundings".

Three patients, including one of the two patients who died, were treated at the Singapore General Hospital between 2012 and 2017, it said on Monday.

Candida auris infections have been reported in health care settings throughout the world, including hospitals and long-term care facilities like nursing homes.

The germ has been found in patients of all ages, from preterm infants to older adults.

Multiple factors have created the flawless storm for C. auris to spread.

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The fungus can spread through direct contact with an infected person, or through contact with a contaminated environment, equipment or other surfaces. Healthy people with strong immune systems may carry the germ without actually getting sick from it.

Although C. auris infection is not a legally notifiable disease here, it has been included in an updated list of pathogens for the public health laboratory surveillance programme since past year. "Rapidly and accurately distinguishing C. auris from other infectious fungal pathogens is an important part of handling an infectious microorganism like this one".

Brunke does concede that candida auris is unusually resistant to many anti-fungals - and "that's something we should worry about" - but he says it should be seen more as a symptom of the greater problem of antimicrobial resistance.

"In this situation, multiple antifungal medications at high doses may be needed to treat the infection", the CDC said.

There were alarming headlines from the USA over the weekend about a type of yeast that has been causing serious illness in hospital patients.

The bug - a fungus - has been known for about ten years now and is known to be prone to drug resistance but the extent of its aggressive nature is becoming apparent only now.

How often do the infections turn deadly?

The emergence of the superbug C. auris is a reminder that other microbes out there can also become resistant to treatments provided by modern medicine.

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