Dangerous drug-resistant bacteria have made headlines in recent years as they spread in the United States at an alarming rate.
The fungus that causes a potentially fatal infection known as Candida auris has tripled in cases in the past three years, with more than half of the states now reporting it. . study It was discovered by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The increase, especially over the last few years, is of great concern to us,” said lead author of the study and U.S. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Megan Lyman. CDC’s Division of Fungal Diseasessaid in an interview with NBC News. “We have seen increases not only in areas of ongoing infection, but also in new areas.”
of study It was published Monday by the Annals of Internal Medicine.
data from CDC indicates that Illinois will have one of the highest numbers of reported cases by the end of 2022, joining five other states that have reached between 100 and 500 cases.
But what is a fungus and what do you need to know?
What is Candida auris?
fungus, Candida aurisis a type of yeast that is normally harmless to healthy people, but can be a deadly risk to vulnerable hospital and nursing home patients. It spreads easily and can infect wounds, ears and the bloodstream. Some strains are so-called superbugs that are resistant to all three classes of antibiotics used to treat fungal infections.
“Not surprisingly, the prevalence of these microbes that can be very difficult to treat, drug resistant, and spread in healthcare,” said Allison Alwadi, Commissioner of the Chicago Public Health Service. says Dr. “We’ve seen some more of it, and now we’re seeing Candida auris in even more states.”
Yeast can cause infections in the bloodstream, wounds, or ears.
“This yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat. CDCwebsite status. “Patients who have been hospitalized for an extended period of time in a health care facility, who have central venous catheters or other lines or tubes inserted into their body, or who have been previously treated with antibiotics or antifungals, are susceptible to this yeast. You seem to be at the highest risk of getting infected.”
How does Candida auris spread?
According to the CDC, Candida auris is most often spread through contact with contaminated surfaces and equipment in healthcare settings, but it can also spread from person to person.
“More research is needed to better understand how it spreads,” reports the CDC.
Why is Candida auris dangerous and deadly?
Fungi can be treated with specific antifungal drugs, but some infections are resistant to all three classes of drugs, “making them more difficult to treat.”
Some infections can be fatal, with limited data showing that 30-60% of people who get such infections die, according to a CDC report. But many of them also had other diseases that increased their risk of death.
“It can be very serious, especially in immunocompromised people who are on ventilators or who are really sick in the hospital,” Arwady said.
Should Illinoisians Concern?
Chicago’s chief doctor said Tuesday on an unrelated Facebook Live that he was “really concerned” about the news. But she noted that Illinois may be more prepared for such a rise than other states.
“The good news is that there’s been a lot of focus on Candida auris — and that’s a real concern — here in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the first places to detect it. We know, we had a lot of resources to control it, and even during COVID, we were able to maintain reasonably good control in terms of the spread.
What could be behind the increase in the number of cases?
According to the study and Arwady, the COVID-19 pandemic likely caused some of the increase as hospital workers were strained by coronavirus patients and likely shifted their focus away from disinfecting other types of bacteria. There is a possibility
“So during COVID, when the health system was under a lot of stress…it’s possible there was some re-use of personal protective equipment early on when those supply chains were disrupted,” Arwady said. “I have seen many other things take precedence.”
When was the fungus first identified in the United States and what is the current status?
The fungus was first identified in Japan in 2009 and has since been found in an increasing number of countries. The first US case he occurred in 2013, but was not reported until 2016. US health officials reported 53 cases of him that year.
A new study finds that the number of cases continues to soar, rising to 476 in 2019, 756 in 2020 and 1,471 in 2021. Doctors have also detected the fungus on the skin of thousands of other patients, making them a risk of infection. others.
Many of the original U.S. cases were infections imported from abroad, but now most infections are spreading within the United States, the authors note.
Arwady said Illinois was one of the hardest-hit states during the introduction of the fungus in the United States.
“When Candida auris was actually identified as a serious medical threat, it was actually New York and Illinois, where some of the first detections were made, and very intensively in high-risk environments. “Work has been done to work. To limit its spread, make sure it is recognized and treated,” he said at the time, working with the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Arwady said.
What else should I know?
Post-COVID fungal infections, although rare, have been reported during the pandemic, especially in people with compromised immune systems.
“It’s very rare, but it’s been documented,” Dr. Kamal Singh, chair of Microbiology and Virology for Cook County Health, told NBC Chicago last month. is a very sick patient treated with very high doses of immunosuppressive drugs.”
of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Fungal infections associated with COVID-19 can lead to serious illness and death,” they said.
“COVID-19 may increase the risk of fungal infections because of its effects on the immune system and because treatments for COVID-19 (such as steroids and other drugs) may weaken the body’s defenses against fungi. It’s expensive,” says the CDC.
But the news of the increase in infections comes amid concerns over the spread of another fungus, and amid heightened awareness following the popularity of the hit show “The Last of Us.”
A “fungal disease endemic to the southwestern United States,” known to cause what is known as valley fever, is projected to spread eastward over the next few decades due to rising temperatures, according to a recent study.
“I think we are definitely keeping our radar on fungi. [World Health Organization] Stepping up and saying, “You know what? We need to keep an eye on it,” Singh said. …so I think more attention is being paid to fungi. “
of WHO The report highlighted “the first-ever list of fungal ‘priority pathogens’.”
“Emerging from the shadows of a bacterial antimicrobial resistance pandemic, fungal infections are on the rise, becoming increasingly resistant to treatment, and becoming a public health concern around the world.”