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CDC warns of drug-resistant fungus spreading rapidly across healthcare facilities

Posted at 6:51 AM, Mar 23, 2023

COLORADO — The CDC is warning us of a drug-resistant and deadly fungus that has been spreading rapidly across the nation's healthcare facilities. The deadly strain of fungus is known as candida auris, or C. auris.

While this fungus has been around in the U.S. since 2016, the number of reported drug-resistant infections caused by this fungus has recently tripled. But how is it impacting us here?

There is only one case in Colorado. But nearby states have a different story. There are 160 cases in Texas and Nevada has 384. I spoke with an infectious disease expert here in Colorado to see what our state is doing to be proactive in case this fungus spreads in our state next.

I'm told we shouldn't be too worried. C. auris is a threat to those who are vulnerable in healthcare facilities, often already sick people who are on a ventilator. But your average healthy person should be able to fight this fungus off. So, who is most at risk of getting a case of C. auris?

"It's not pretty much not something at all that should be of concern unless you're hospitalized and then you're probably not healthy at that moment and people that live in long-term care facilities,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical of infection prevention and control for UCHealth.

"Really the people that are probably the highest risk are those that are in the hospital, have procedures, in long-term care facilities, those who have chronic ports or I.V's that they need for medications, that puts you at the slightly higher risk than the average individual."

What is interesting about this fungus, is unlike other fungi, it has grown resistant to the drugs out there to treat infections caused by yeast. I'm told this is common behavior for bacteria but not fungi. The symptoms for those who are fighting off C. auris are fever, chills, and sometimes unstable blood pressure.

While this is only being seen in hospitals, I'm told if something were to change and it was to become more common in the community, the best thing you can do is wash your hands and clean surfaces.

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