Doctors: Drug-Resistant Candida Auris An Urgent Threat

Candida auris is resistant to at least two of the three major classes of antifungal drugs.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — A group of doctors warned today that Candida auris posed an emerging threat because the deadly yeast was resistant to most antifungal drugs. 

The doctors — Dr Snigdha Vallabhaneni; Dr Brendan R. Jackson; and Dr Tom M. Chiller — wrote that C auris more often caused bloodstream and intra-abdominal infections than ear infections.

“It is an urgent threat because many strains are resistant to at least two of the three major classes of antifungal drugs used to treat Candida infections and because it causes outbreaks in health care settings to an extent not seen with other Candida species,” they said in an editorial in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

“Candida auris distinguishes itself from other, more familiar Candida species in several ways. Its drug resistance is unprecedented among known human-pathogenic yeasts.”

Insider reported the physicians as saying that C auris has become such a big threat mainly because of the lack of technology to identify the fungus in its early stages.

“Candida auris can often be misidentified as another yeast when only biochemical methods are used,” they said, referring to a lab test for living organisms. 

But they added that “identification systems are improving”.

According to the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), C. auris infections have been reported from over 30 countries since the fungus was first identified in 2009 in Japan. A total of 685 cases were reported in the United States as of last May 31.

CDC identified people who have recently spent time in nursing homes and had tubes going into their body as those with the highest risk for C. auris infection. Based on information from a limited number of patients, CDC said, between 30 per cent and 60 per cent of people with C. auris infections died.

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