Hospitals in the United Kingdom detected more than 200 patients either colonized or infected with Candida auris, the emerging and often drug-resistant fungal pathogen known for its potential to cause hospital outbreaks.
According to Public Health England, 20 U.K. hospitals found cases recently, including three that experienced “large nosocomial outbreaks that have proved difficult to control, despite intensive infection prevention and control measures.”
The three large nosocomial outbreaks were over as of Aug. 14, the government health agency said. It said patients colonized with C. auris were transferred to more than 35 other hospitals.
No deaths have been attributed to C. auris in the U.K., according to Public Health England. But C. auris, which may survive for days on hospital surfaces, has been associated with high mortality rates.
The pathogen emerged suddenly on several continents in 2008 or 2009 and has been implicated in hospital outbreaks around the globe, including around 100 cases in the United States, most of them in New York and New Jersey. Experts have voiced concern over the fungus’ drug resistance and the difficulty of distinguishing it from other invasive Candida infections.
Hospitals in the United Kingdom have recently detected more than 200 cases of C. auris.
It is the first Candida spp. to show resistance to all three major classes of antifungals and is also unique in the way it spreads — from patient to patient or surface to patient in a health care setting. It was first isolated from a Japanese patient’s ear canal in 2009 — hence auris — and has been sporadically identified in England since 2013, according to Public Health England.
The agency published new guidance on the management of C. auris “to reflect the increasing experience of the complexities of managing C. auris cases ... and recognition of some additional novel aspects of outbreak control.” It also produced an informational leaflet that physicians can give to colonized patients. – by Gerard Gallagher
PHE. Guidance for the laboratory investigation, management and infection prevention and control for cases of Candida auris. 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/candida-auris-laboratory-investigation-management-and-infection-prevention-and-control. Accessed Aug. 17, 2017.
PHE. Candida auris: infection control in community care settings. 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/candida-auris-infection-control-in-community-care-settings. Accessed Aug. 17, 2017.
PHE. Candida auris: a guide for patients and visitors. 2017. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/candida-auris-a-guide-for-patients-and-visitors. Accessed Aug. 17, 2017.