Some cases have shown resistance to treatment and medication.
Known as Candida auris, this "superbug" fungus is a form of yeast that can enter the human body. It can turn deadly if it gets in the bloodstream, the heart, or the brain. So far, two hospitals and one nursing home have been affected by the superbug fungus. In some cases, it may even be treatable.
Evidence is leading investigators to believe that the fungus spreads from patient contact or any contaminated surfaces. This spreading has led to multiple outbreaks in these facilities, including one Washington, D.C. nursing home and two hospitals in Collin County around Dallas, Texas.
"This is really the first time we've started seeing clustering of resistance," said Meghan Lyman, a CDC doctor.
Lyman claims these outbreaks have been occurring since April. Evidence shows that the fungus spreads from person to person, as previous records of antifungal cases do not exist in the D.C. nursing home and two Dallas hospitals. The year 2019 saw other superbug fungus cases in New York, with the fungus becoming resistant to echinocandin drugs in three cases.
The most recent outbreaks were reported to the CDC this past Thursday.
Health officials are doing more research on this fungus. At the time, prominent medications have been used and failed to treat the infections. In the D.C. nursing home, the three cases of the Candida auris fungus could not be treated in sick patients that received strong antifungal medications. In the two Dallas-area hospitals, two cases revealed no response to treatment. A total of three patients have ultimately died. The fungus can wreak havoc on those with incredibly weak immune systems. Scientists are still working as to how the infections spread between patients, although they believe in these cases the fungus ended up developing resistance to medication.
Dr. Floyd Wormly of Texas Christian University added that anyone can be a carrier of this fungus. He said, "You can carry it into the hospitals, you can carry it if you are a physician or a nurse working with a patient ... You can contaminate the surfaces in a hospital."
Wormly elaborated, saying, "So once you identify that the organism is in the setting you can take effective measures to decontaminate, to get rid of it, or to push it down ... But the tricky part is knowing that it is there."
Wormly added that cleaners and disinfectants can kill this fungus.
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