TYLER, Texas (KETK) — The fungus called Candida Auris or C. Auris for short, was first detected in the U.S. in 2016, but is now spreading at a more rapid rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling it an urgent threat.
Some doctors assure the public that it’s not going to take over the world and kill us all, but it is something we need to be aware of.
“It’s something we’ve been tracking for probably 10 years,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Michelle Barron.
In the past three years, infections increased by 200%.
“The fact that it’s increasing in number and also increasing in terms of where we can find it is kind of a combination that’s very disturbing,” said Dr. Bruce Hirsch at Northwell Health.
The fungus spreading to more than half of U.S. states, including Texas.
The problem? It’s resistant to common anti-fungal drugs and seems to be getting more resistant. It’s also difficult to identify.
“In the past. We’ve seen resistance very very occasionally, but that low level of resistance is now tripled according to the recent report,” Hirsch said.
Make sure you’re washing your hands frequently because doctors said that will be your primary defense.
C. Auris is mainly found in healthcare facilities.
“It can make people very sick when it invades through the skin into the bloodstream,” said Infectious disease specialist Dr. Michelle Barron.
Those with weak immune systems, catheters or breathing tubes who live in long-term care facilities are most at risk.
Common symptoms include fever and chills.
“It can cause damage in the different organs, it can cause stroke, it can cause eye problems, it can cause blindness,” Hirsch said.
A lab test is the only way to determine if you have Candida Auris.
It also has an extreme ability to survive on surfaces like walls and bedding.
This is an infection that occurs in extremely ill individuals. Healthy people with strong immune systems are significantly less likely to get sick.
If you visit a nursing home or hospital, just wash your hands thoroughly.