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Outbreaks of drug-resistant superbug fungus have spread to two U.S. cities, CDC reports

Outbreaks of a drug-resistant “superbug” fungus have spread among patients in hospitals and long-term care facilities in Texas and Washington, DC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday. The mushroom, Candida auris, attacks people with weakened immune systems. The CDC said evidence suggests these cases involved person-to-person transmission, which would be a first for the United States.

The clusters in the two cities do not appear to be linked to each other, according to the report. The 30-day mortality in the two epidemics combined was 30%, although other health issues may have played a role as well.

Candida auris, which was first seen in the US in 2013, is “resistant to several antifungal drugs that we have, and it’s also resistant to anything we use to eradicate bacteria and fungal strains in the hospital. “, Dr Neeta Ogden, specialist in internal medicine, told CBS News in 2019 after health officials issued a warning about the emerging threat.

Of 101 cases of the fungus identified in Washington, DC, from January to April 2021, three were isolated as resistant to the three main classes of antifungal drugs. These cases occurred in a long-term care facility for critically ill patients.

There have been 22 cases identified in Texas during the same period, two being resistant to the three antifungal drugs and five resistant to two of the drugs. These seven cases were found in patients at two acute care hospitals, one long-term and one short-term; two of the patients were treated at both hospitals.

“This is truly the first time that we are starting to see a cluster of resistance” in which patients appeared to contract infections from other patients, said CDC’s Dr Meghan Lyman, author of the report.

Candida auris infections have been reported in hospitals and long-term care facilities around the world. People who have been hospitalized for a long time or who have breathing tubes, feeding tubes, or central venous catheters appear to be most at risk. The fungus can cause wound infections or blood infections, which can be fatal.

“Surveillance, public health reporting and infection control measures are essential to contain further spread,” the report says, while noting that “data is lacking” on how to treat cases resistant to all drugs current.

The Associated Press contributed reporting.


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