Oregon Hospital Reports Rare Fungus Superbug Outbreak

An Oregon hospital saw two patients got infected with Candida Auris, a fungus that is rare to the U.S., in an “outbreak” of the infection.

According to USA Today, Salem Health detected the first case of the disease in Oregon on Dec. 11 and confirmed it on Dec. 17 after an individual with “recent international health care exposures” presented at the clinic.

Two patients who had already been hospitalized became infected on Dec. 23 and Dec. 27.

The Salem Health System and the Oregon Health Authority are currently working together to inform facilities that have received transfer patients from Salem Health’s “affected units.” It is unclear which Salem Health units are affected by this outbreak.

The fungus, known as C. Auris, can cause wound infections or bloodstream infections. Patients with serious medical conditions in hospitals or nursing homes are most at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and the Office of Healthcare Access, those patients also had weakened immune systems and tubes or lines entering their bodies.

People who are otherwise healthy have an extremely low risk of infection.

Around 1,150 cases of Candida Auris have been reported in the U.S. since 2013. According to the CDC, it presents a “serious global health threat.”

“Candida Auris is an emerging pathogen of concern because it can cause serious infections, particularly in those with serious medical problems, and can be resistant to the antifungal drugs we have to treat it,” said Rebecca Pierce, Healthcare-Associated Infections Program manager with the OHA.

Pierce continued to say that Salem Health is responding to the treatments already in place to combat the fungus.

Salem Health’s Jasmin Chaudhary, medical director of infection prevention, said OHA, CDC, and Salem Health are working together to develop strategies to curtail the spread of Candida Auris at the health care facility.

A number of measures have been put in place, including:

  • Assuring regular disinfection of patients’ health care environments
  • Employing transmission-based protection for those contaminated or colonized with Candida Auris
  • Sticking to hand-washing measure.

Candida Auris: Candida Auris is what?

Healthcare settings are susceptible to this fungal disease, which causes invasive infections. In 2015, Candida Auris was discovered in the U.S. after first appearing in Japan in 2009.

CDC officials are concerned since C. Auris is difficult to diagnose and requires specialized laboratory work, which necessitates immediate action to prevent the spread of the virus. Additionally, almost all of its strains fight off at least one anti-fungal drug.

Also check: US Reports Lowest Population Growth Rate in Decades

Who Does it Affect?

Candida Auris typically attacks patients with a compromised immune system or a serious medical condition. When the patient’s body is accessed with a tube, this most commonly happens.

Generally, healthy people don’t become infected, but when interacting with a patient that has the disease or with surfaces or equipment in the room, they should wash their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.

CDC reports that 30-60% of people who contract C. Auris infections die. However, a large number had serious illnesses that increased their risk.

Candida Auris: Which Symptoms are Present?

Most commonly, the symptoms of C. Auris are fever and chills that do not react to antibiotics. To help anyone determine if they had a condition or symptoms of Candida Auris, specialized laboratory tests are needed. Bloodstream infections, ear infections, and wound infections are common manifestations of the disease.

Candida Auris: What are the Treatment Options?

According to the CDC, most Candida Auris infections are treated using an antifungal medication known as echinocandins. Some strains, however, have developed resistance to all three main types of medications, requiring higher doses of more than one medication.

Candida Auris: What Can be Done to Prevent it?

When around patients who have C. Auris, make sure you wash your hands and ask anyone exposed to do the same.

Candida Auris patients should be isolated in a single room with frequent cleaning using a high-level disinfectant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.