The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday warned that a deadly fungus called Candida auris (C. auris) is spreading at an "alarming rate" in the U.S. healthcare facilities.
“The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control,” said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman, lead author of the paper, in a press release.
Adding to the agency's concerns, the number of infections that were resistant to echinocandins, which is the antifungal medicine most commonly used to treat C. auris infections, tripled in 2021.
The CDC classified C. auris as an "urgent antimicrobial resistance (AR) threat," meaning "it is often resistant to multiple antifungal drugs, spreads easily in healthcare facilities, and can cause severe infections with high death rates."
Between 2016, when C. auris was first reported, and 2021, there have been a total of 3,270 clinical cases reported and 7,413 screening cases.
The agency said "poor general infection prevention and control (IPC) practices in healthcare facilities" are responsible for the spread. However, expanded efforts to detect cases is also responsible for the jump in reported cases.