The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), warned last year about the possibility of a fungus outbreak in the United States. Now, nine months after the warning, the first cases of the infection have been reported in the country and have alerted health authorities since this disease is severe and deadly.
Almost three dozen people have been reported to have this infection in the last days. This fungus is known for being both deadly and drug-resistant, hence the concern of health authorities of the new outbreak registered.
This particular fungus is a kind of yeast called Candida Auris, and since its discovery, it has been registered in all five continents. Starting in 2009, officials worried about a possible expansion of the disease, as in that year, one patient in Japan presented a severe ear infection thanks to the fungus. In the next seven years, the fungal infection has been present in Colombia, India, Israel, Kenya, Kuwait, Pakistan, South Korea, Venezuela, and even the United Kingdom.
What this disease could mean to a patient
According to medical observations and analysis, this fungus is known for producing severe bloodstream infections. This disease can also be present in the patient’s ears. It is also known for being resistant to multiple drugs. The Candida Auris can also spread very easily since its attachable to health care settings and can survive there for many days and even months.
The fact that this infection is so resistant to drugs is the primary reason why health authorities are so scared about major outbreaks. Given the number of cases registered, only 40 percent of patients have survived, which is an alarming fact. Most of the other 60 percent of affected people presented severe illnesses during considerable periods of time.
According to latest reports from the CDC, the place where most of the cases have been reported is the state of New York, since 28 cases have been registered in the last days. Also, a substantial number of infections have been reported in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
Last June, the CDC warned about this outbreak
After doing some research regarding the presence of the Candida Auris in nine countries and four continents, they sent out an alert to the United States medical centers.
“CDC is concerned that C. Auris will emerge in new locations, including the United States,” the CDC wrote in the alert.
Their objective was to inform doctors across the country that this fungus was not detectable through standard mechanisms.
The CDC also noted that since many countries do not possess the required laboratory methods to detect the fungus infection, the presence of the Candida Auris must be much higher than thought.
According to Tom Chiller, the CDC’s top fungal expert, most Americans medical research centers do not have the accurate methods to detect the presence of the C. Auris quickly. He says that this fungus can be confused with other types of yeasts, and therefore, a different kind of infection. This can produce a misleading diagnosis and an incorrect medical treatment.
“As soon as we put out that alert, we started to get information about cases and now we know more about how it spreads and how it’s acting,” Chiller said in an interview with the Washington Post this Thursday.
According to Chiller, the fact mentioned before is quite relevant since most of the people that have been diagnosed with the infection attended to the hospital alleging a different reason.
Health scientists have stated in the past that there is a steady rise concerning drug-resistant microbes around the globe and that this represents a serious threat to humankind. In this issue, in addition to the 35 registered cases of the infection, other 18 cases of the fungus have been reported, but these patients have not shown signs of the disease itself.
“These pathogens are increasing, they’re new, they’re scary and they’re very difficult to combat,” said Anne Schuchat, CDC’s acting director, during a briefing in Washington this week about the growing danger from antimicrobial resistance.
There is a general concern among health officials is the fact that this infection seems to be a mix between a yeast infection and a drug-resistant disease. Fungal-like infections are known for producing invasive bloodstream infections, as Candida-generated diseases in mouth, throat, or vagina don’t present these characteristics.
According to Chiller, health officials in the United States are worried about this infection being a mix between those two (invasive bloodstream infection and a drug-resistant disease).
“This is a paradigm shift, because Candida is not generally thought of as highly resistant or passed person to person,” Chiller said.
After the CDC sent out the alert, they have been offering assistance and funds to several health investigation centers in the U.S. in order to identify the presence of the infection and start attacking possible outbreaks.
Source: The Washington Post