It’s spreading fast! The frightening resemblance to the famous TV series…
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced yesterday that a deadly and highly drug-resistant fungus is spreading at an “alarming rate” in long-term care hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Fungal infections known as ‘Candida auris’ increased from 476 cases in 2019 to 1,471 in 2021, according to CDC data.
The number of people carrying the fungus but not infected nearly quadrupled over the same time period, from 1,077 to 4,040. Preliminary data show that the number of cases continues to rise and antibiotic-resistant strains are emerging.
DEATH RATE VARIES BETWEEN 30 AND 70 PERCENT
Scientists believe that the fungus is not a threat to healthy people with strong immune systems.
But more medically sensitive people, such as patients on ventilators and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, are at serious risk.
It is estimated that 30 to 70 percent of patients who develop septicemia (bloodstream infection) due to the fungus die.
VERY DIFFICULT TO CLEAN! WE NEED A STRONG PLAN
CDC experts underline the need for a robust infection control plan against a possible outbreak, as the disease is spread through contact with objects.
“When fungi enter a hospital, they are very difficult to control and clean,” said William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, while CDC’s Meghan Lyman emphasized that the fungus is difficult to clean because it stays on surfaces for a long time, and that some disinfectants in hospitals are ineffective against this fungus.
A SERIOUS GLOBAL THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH
Candida fungus was first detected in the US in 2016, and was considered a serious ‘global public health threat’ in 2019 as it is resistant to different classes of antifungal drugs.
Fungi often cannot withstand the heat of the human body. Post-emergence of the fungus detected in India, South Africa and South America more than a decade ago, research suggests that Candida evolved to survive in a warming world.