Candida Auris Superbug: Who's At Risk, Where It's Spread, Can It Be Stopped?

Lorenzo Tanos

Reports have recently emerged regarding the spread of Candida auris, a fungal superbug that has been shown to be resistant to known antibiotics. With the fungal infection now in America and reportedly having sickened almost three dozen individuals, government officials are working overtime to find a way to deal with the bug and prevent further cases from occurring.

The official website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes Candida auris as an "emerging fungus" and a "serious global health threat," a bug where some of its strains have shown to be resistant to all three major classes of antifungal medication. The fact sheet on the superbug suggests that such multi-drug resistance has not been reported previously in other Candida strains, while another worrisome observation has been C. auris' hitherto-unseen ability to spread from patient to patient in hospitals, and the fact that it's even been found on "surfaces in healthcare environments."

According to the Washington Post, Candida auris is more than just a superbug, but one that can result in serious bloodstream infections. It is also a highly fatal disease, as it has been known to kill up to 60 percent of sufferers, many of whom had "other serious underlying illnesses" aside from the fungal infection.

Another potential risk, the CDC writes, is the difficulty in identifying C. auris, and the risk that it may be mistaken to be another kind of fungus.

"C. auris is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods and can be misidentified in labs without specific technology."

"This drug is especially promising because of its broad anti-Candida activity, including activity against drug-susceptible and resistant strains," wrote study author Mahmoud Ghannoum, as quoted by ReliaWire.

So far, it's been nine months since the CDC issued official literature warning U.S. medical facilities about the threat of Candida auris. In an effort to fight the superbug and make its identification much easier than it currently is, the agency is working closely with regional laboratories and hospitals, offering tools such as additional funds and its own knowledge of the infection in hopes of getting to the bottom of things.

[Featured Image by angellodeco/Shutterstock]