'Superbug' Fungus Spreads Among Vulnerable in Two U.S. Cities

FRIDAY, July 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- An untreatable "superbug" fungus is spreading in a Washington, D.C., nursing home and two Dallas-area hospitals, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

There were 101 candida auris cases at the nursing home and 22 cases at the hospitals from January to April, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which did not identify the facilities, the Associated Press reported.

Three of the patients at the nursing home and two at the hospitals had infections that were resistant to all three major classes of antifungal medications. Of those patients, both patients in Texas and one in Washington died.

Both outbreaks are ongoing and more infections have been identified since April, but the CDC didn't release those additional numbers, the AP reported.

"This is really the first time we've started seeing clustering of [drug] resistance" in which infections appear to be spreading between patients, the CDC's Dr. Meghan Lyman told the AP.

C. auris is a form of yeast that's a threat to hospital and nursing home patients with serious medical problems. It is most dangerous when it enters the bloodstream, heart or brain.

For years, health officials have sounded alarms about the drug-resistant fungus after seeing infections in which commonly used medicines had little effect. In 2019, doctors diagnosed three cases in New York that were also resistant to a class of drugs, called echinocandins, that were considered a last line of defense, the AP reported.

In those cases, there was no evidence the infections had spread from patient to patient — scientists concluded the resistance to the drugs had formed during an individual patient's treatment. But these new outbreaks could be different, the CDC's Lyman said.

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for more on candida auris.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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