US healthcare facilities are battling an increasing spread of the potentially deadly fungal infection Candida auris. The number of cases doubled in 2021 compared to a year earlier. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention is sounding the alarm.
The number of cases of Candida auris rose sharply in 2019. With 59 percent in 2020 and an additional 95 percent in 2021, the rapid increase and geographic spread of cases are “concerning,” said CDC researcher Meghan Lyman.
“Also concerning was a tripling by 2021 in the number of cases resistant to echinocandins, the class of drugs most commonly recommended for treating the disease,” the CDC writes in a report.
The most common symptoms of Candida auris are a high fever and chills that do not improve after antibiotic treatment. Additional symptoms may appear as the infection spreads. Ultimately, patients can die from the fungus, as the blood supply, nervous system and organs are affected. One in three people who get the infection will die.
The report said that people who are already sick and frequently use medical devices such as mechanical ventilators or require long or frequent hospital stays are at greater risk of infection. “The rapid increase and geographic spread of cases are concerning, and we must continue to investigate,” said Lyman.