CBS NEWS – Cases of the drug-resistant fungus Candida auris are now climbing at an “alarming” rate in health care facilities around the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Monday, after reports of infected patients nearly doubled in 2021.
For several years after the first American cases were reported in 2016, only a few dozen Candida auris patients were reported to the CDC annually. But cases have begun to accelerate in recent years, according to the new CDC data published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
By 2021, the annual tally of cases had increased 95%, from 756 in 2020 to 1,471 in 2021. Preliminary figures count at least another 2,377 cases for 2022. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have now reported Candida auris patients.
“We’re continuing to see the number of cases increase. So what we saw before is continuing. It didn’t stop. The issues that we’ve seen are continuing and it didn’t resolve,” says CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman, who was the report’s lead author.
Candida auris is a form of yeast that often causes no symptoms on the body of healthy people. However, the fungus poses a serious threat to patients already weakened by other conditions, triggering serious and invasive complications as it spreads into the body’s systems. Many cases have affected patients in hospitals and nursing homes.
Nearly all of the samples tested of Candida auris are already resistant to at least one class of antifungal drug.
One in three patients with invasive infections die, although Lyman said it can often be tricky to assess the exact role the fungus played in some of these vulnerable patients.
Even in patients who survive invasive infections, some can remain “colonized” with Candida auris for years after they were treated.
“There’s still a lot to learn about colonization patterns. But the treatment doesn’t seem to completely— while it may treat the infection, we don’t have evidence that it completely eliminates C. auris from their body” …