CDC: Healthcare Facilities Threatened by Growing Antimicrobial Fungus Threat

By Brian Ward

On March 20, the CDC released a press release warning that Candida auris (C. auris) has spread at an alarming rate between 2020-2021. C. auris is a fungus resistant to several antifungal medications. While it’s not seen as a threat to healthy people, it’s dangerous to those already sick, have invasive medical devices, or have frequent stays at healthcare facilities.

“The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control,” said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman in the press release.

Clinical cases of C. auris have increased every year since it was first reported in 2016, with a total of 3,270 clinical cases and 7,413 screening cases (where the fungus is detected but not causing infection) reported through December 31, 2021. And during 2019-2021, 17 states identified their first C. auris case ever.

The COVID-19 pandemic might have worsened the situation, the CDC says. The CDC also stated that C. auris cases have increased for “many reasons, including poor general infection prevention and control (IPC) practices in healthcare facilities.”

For more information about C. auris, visit the CDC’s page on the fungus.