New fungal infection is spreading quickly

Christina Judy, Staff writer

After a long fight against the COVID-19 virus, the world is being forced to shift their focus to another emerging microorganism.

This time, the fungus, Candida auris is posing a threat to many people in all countries but those who are hospitalized are at a higher risk of becoming infected because of its tenacious spread.

The concern started when healthcare facilities began noticing severe illness in their hospitalized patients which they observed as being yeast infections.

In an attempt to spread throughout the body, C. auris enters the bloodstream and causes invasive infections which are difficult to treat.

Some of the known infections are ear infections but there is speculation that it could develop lung or bladder infections.

The CDC is raising concern over this yeast because it is difficult to detect with the typical laboratory equipment and requires specific technology.

Due to this, it is common for the yeast infection to be misidentified and therefore can throw healthcare providers off their target on a treatment plan.

C. auris is also highly contagious and has been reported to cause outbreaks in hospital settings and with the struggle to identify them, it is causing healthcare workers to be hyper aware of any yeast infection developments.

Perhaps the biggest concern for those attempting to combat this infection spread is the multidrug resistance of Candida auris.

Its resistance to multiple anti- fungal drugs makes it challenging for the CDC to find a suitable pharmacological treatment to approve or administer.

To add to C. auris’ persistence, it has the ability to remain on surfaces in healthcare facilities and thus increases the spread of the disease.

Those who are at the highest risk for being in this environment are patients with a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit, those who have serious medical conditions, and those who have received antibiotics or anti-fungal medications in the past.

Infection can be spread through mere contact with an infected person or a surface that is contaminated. The CDC is making a solid effort to provide information and advice to medical facilities and the general public.

They are advising for proper hand hygiene including washing with soap or sanitizing with an alcohol-based cloth.

Additionally, they are encouraging all healthcare professionals to follow strict control of spread measures such as dressing in gowns and gloves when appropriate. All healthcare facilities are instructed to take part in efficient room and equipment cleaning to deter the spread of infection.

There have been rumors of potential shutdowns happening again, which has been all too familiar for juniors in college as they prepare for senior year.

Their senior year of high school was cut short by the COVID shutdown, so these rumors of a C. auris shutdown have been causing some students stress.

However, it is important to note that there has not been an official statement about a potential lockdown, so there is no need to stock up on toilet paper or canned soup yet.

Rather, everyone is encouraged to wash hands regularly and to be more cautious of their actions in an effort to shut this down before it becomes a more widespread fungal infection.

States and countries are reporting their cases to inform the general public and tract the spread of the infection.

Moreover, some strains of C. auris can be treated with antifungal drugs, so there is hope for a solution to the infection.

The CDC is also working alongside microbiology laboratories in the clinical setting to enhance the detection efforts of this fungal infection in patients.