5/18/17

CDC Report: Number of Detected Superbug Candida Auris Cases Surges


By on 1:47 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a field report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report outlining the rapid increase in the number of identified Candida auris superbug cases in the United States.

C. auris is a type of yeast — an emerging, and often multidrug-resistant, fungus — that causes severe illness in hospitalized patients. It can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. C. auris often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat. CDC notes that patients who in an intensive care unit for an extended period of time or those with a central venous catheter placed in a large vein, and have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at the highest risk of infection.

In June 2016, CDC released a clinical alert about this superbug and later reported the first seven U.S. cases of infection through August 2016. As of May 12, 2017, a total of 77 U.S. clinical cases of C. auris had been reported to CDC from seven states: New York (53 cases), New Jersey (16), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), Massachusetts (1), and Oklahoma (1).

Screening of close contacts of these patients identified an additional 45 patients with C. auris — 24 in New Jersey, 17 in New York and four in Illinois — resulting in a total of 122 patients from whom C. auris has been isolated. Most cases were in chronically ill patients with long stays at high-acuity skilled nursing facilities

Current recommendations for C. auris-colonized or infected patients include the following, according to CDC:
  • Use standard precautions and contact precautions.
  • House the patient in a private room.
  • Perform daily and terminal cleaning of a patient's room with a disinfectant active against Clostridium difficile spores.
  • Notify receiving healthcare facilities when a patient with C. auris colonization or infection is transferred.

Specialized laboratory methods are needed to accurately identify C. auris. Conventional laboratory techniques could lead to misidentification and inappropriate management, making it difficult to control the spread in healthcare settings.
 

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.

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