KUALA LUMPUR, April 15 – Candida auris, declared to be an emerging global pathogen, has spread to countries around the world including southern Africa, South America, and now Southeast Asia.
At least three people in Singapore were reported to be infected with the drug-resistant fungus. One patient recovered, another left the country despite medical advice, and the third died.
There have been 11 isolated cases of Candida auris infections in the city-state since 2012.
Treating these infections are extremely difficult as it does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs. It has demonstrated resistance to those used to treat other Candida infections, such as vaginal yeast infections or oral thrush.
Upon entering the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body, the fungus causes serious invasive infections in the bloodstream, brain and heart. It can be life-threatening.
Candida auris spreads through contact with infected patients, or contaminated surfaces and equipment. It can survive on cooler surfaces like skin, for a long time.
The United States’ Centre for Disease Control stated that those most at risk are individuals who have been in a hospital with confirmed cases of the fungus, recently had surgery, using broad-spectrum antibiotic and antifungal drugs, have diabetes, and spent time in nursing homes.
It has been declared a global emerging threat which can and has caused invasive infection and death.
However, hospitals and governments are generally reluctant to disclose outbreaks for fear of being seen or classified as infection hubs.