Often resistant to antifungal treatments, as well as being difficult to identify, Candida auris is a type of yeast that can cause severe illness, especially for vulnerable patients in hospitals and nursing homes. Thanks to advances in PCR testing and strain typing technology, early and accurate identification is assisting in controlling outbreaks, explains Markus Meyer.
A drug-resistant and potentially deadly fungus, the infectious yeast Candida auris has recently emerged as a serious global health threat in hospitals and healthcare facilities. A US government study1 has published results confirming that the number of people carrying C. auris has been rising at an alarming rate since it was first reported in the US,2 and the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified C. auris as a critical threat to public health in its inaugural list of fungal ‘priority pathogens’.3
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three main reasons for concern.4 Firstly, C. auris is often multidrug resistant with some strains resistant to the three available classes of antifungals. Secondly, it is difficult to identify using conventional laboratory tests. Traditional yeast identification methods used by laboratories typically misidentify C. auris as other yeasts, making the detection and control of this pathogen difficult5 and potentially leading to the wrong course of treatment.
Thirdly, C. auris has caused outbreaks in hospital settings, where it can lead to severe illness or death in people with compromised immune systems. The mortality rate of invasive infections associated with C. auris is comparatively higher than that of other Candida species, with the crude mortality rate ranging from 30-72%.6-9
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