‘Global Health Threat’ Untreatable Fungus Spreading In DC, Dallas, CDC Says

Ailan Evans 

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An untreatable fungus is spreading in health facilities in Washington, D.C., and Dallas, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC issued an update Thursday regarding Candida auris, an emerging strain of fungus resistant to medication causing infections, fever and death. The fungus was detected in two hospitals in Dallas and a nursing home in Washington, D.C., the Associated Press reported.

“Candida auris is an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat,” the CDC said in an advisory. “Multiple outbreaks have been identified involving people with overlapping healthcare exposures and without previous antifungal treatment, suggesting transmission of resistant strains.”

The fungus is a form of yeast most deadly to hospital patients with preexisting medical problems, according to the CDC. It has caused outbreaks in healthcare facilities, and is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods.

The fungus enters the body through the bloodstream and can cause serious invasive infections, according to the CDC. Patients at the highest risk of infection are those hospitalized in a healthcare facility, especially those who are intubated or have a central venous catheter, the agency said.

“It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections. Some strains are resistant to all three available classes of antifungals,” the agency said.

Over 100 cases of the fungus were found in a Washington, D.C. nursing home that were resistant to all antifungal medications, the AP reported, with 22 cases reported in two Dallas hospitals. First identified in 2009, the fungus has spread quickly and is now in a dozen countries, according to the CDC.

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