Candida auris (C. auris)
Candida auris (C.auris) is a fungus of public health interest because it can cause serious infections in hospitalized patients, is often resistant to medications, and continues to spread in U.S. health care settings. Increased awareness in the health care community, appropriate laboratory testing of hospitalized patients, and aggressive infection control practices in health care settings will limit the spread of C. auris in the U.S.
C. auris has been investigated for nearly three years in the U.S. People who get C. auris or other Candida infections are often already sick from other medical conditions. We know that 1) this fungus is not easy to get rid of, and 2) we need to detect it early so that we can take steps to prevent it from spreading across a health care facility. As of February 2019, there were 617 clinical cases of C. auris infection from 12 states, including 148 in Illinois, 126 in New Jersey, and 313 in New York.
As of April 9, 2019, Florida has identified 12 clinical cases.
Symptoms of C. auris infection may not differ from those of other infections, and they vary depending on the part of the body that is infected. People can also have C. auris on their bodies without it causing an infection or any symptoms (that is, they can be colonized). Even without symptoms, it is possible to pass C. auris to other people. Patients at higher risk for developing C. auris infection are those who require invasive medical care, including ventilators for breathing support, feeding tubes, central venous catheters, and also broad-spectrum antibiotics.
Preventing C. auris involves proper and consistent adherence to recommended practices for hand hygiene, use of gloves and gown when indicated in the hospital, and cleaning and disinfecting medical equipment and the health care environment. One of the best ways to prevent the spread of dangerous germs like C. auris in health care settings is good hand hygiene. Patients and their loved ones can play a role in asking and reminding health care providers to clean their hands as well as washing their own hands.
The Florida Department of Health can be consulted by health care facilities and providers about the need for additional steps to prevent the spread of C. auris.