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CDC Warns of Threat from Spread of Emerging Fungus

The worsening spread of an emerging fungus, Candida auris (C. auris), in the United States poses an “urgent antimicrobial resistance” threat in U.S. health care facilities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns.

In a March 20 statement on CDC research in the Annals of Internal Medicaid, the CDC said those who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in health care facilities are at increased risk of acquiring C. auris.

“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 Meghan Lyman, MD, lead author of the paper.

The CDC said the percentage increase in clinical cases of C. auris has grown annually in recent years, from a 44 percent increase in 2019 to a 95 percent increase in 2021. The number of cases that were resistant to echinocandins, the antifungal medicine most recommended for treatment of C. auris infections, tripled in 2021 from the previous two years. The agency said poor general infection prevention and control practices in health care facilities have contributed to the spread of the fungus.

A health advisory with recommendations for health care providers has yet to be released. More information on the fungus can be found on the CDC website. CDC encourages all U.S. laboratory staff who identify C. auris to notify their state or local public health authorities and CDC at candidaauris@cdc.gov.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Faridat Animashaun is a policy analyst at America's Essential Hospitals.

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