CDC: 5 ways hospitals can control spread of emerging deadly superbug fungus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new recommendations to help hospitals prevent the spread of an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast that causes invasive infections and is transmitted in healthcare settings.

As of Aug. 31, the CDC has received reports of 153 clinical cases of Candida auris. The cases come from 10 states, primarily New York and New Jersey. The CDC reports that an additional 143 patients have been found to be colonized with C. auris based on targeted screening.

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The CDC has found that five cases involved patients who were recently hospitalized in other countries, and close contacts of patients, such as roommates, can develop asymptomatic colonization, which puts them at risk for invasive infections. These colonized patients can then transmit the fungus to others.

The fungus is dangerous because it is resistant to at least one antifungal drug and in some cases two or three. Common disinfectants used within healthcare environments are not effective against C. auris.

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To help prevent the spread of the fungus, the CDC recommends that hospitals and laboratories:

  • Test all Candida isolates obtained from the bloodstream and other normally sterile, invasive body sites (e.g., cerebrospinal fluid) to determine the species.
  • Consider testing Candida isolates from nonsterile, noninvasive sites to determine species in certain situations.
  • Screen patients/residents in hospitals or nursing homes who were close contacts to detect transmission.
  • Closely monitor patients with C. auris for treatment failure, as indicated by persistently positive clinical cultures.
  • Clean and disinfect the rooms of patients with C. auris each day using an EPA-registered disinfectant effective against Clostridium difficile spores.