CDC Alert: New Virus Candida Auris Spread In Washington, Symptoms and Prevent

What is Candida auris (C. auris)?

Candida Auris Spread: A rare and dangerous fungal infection called Candida auris has struck the United States, posing a significant threat. With four recent cases reported in Washington state, medical professionals are deeply concerned about its potential severity. NBC News reported on the alarming situation, highlighting the fungus’s high fatality rate, resistance to drugs, and its propensity to spread rapidly within healthcare facilities.

The first case was confirmed on January 10, and the public health agency for Seattle and King County disclosed three additional instances of Candida auris infection in the past week. This particular fungus primarily targets individuals with compromised immune systems and exhibits resistance to several commonly used antifungal medications. Patients in hospitals who rely on feeding tubes, breathing tubes, or catheters are particularly vulnerable to contracting the infection.

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What is Candida auris (C. auris)?

Candida auris, often abbreviated as C. auris, is a type of yeast or fungus that can cause severe infections in humans.

Candida auris Originated In Japan

Candida auris Discovered in Japan 15 years ago. Candida auris has seen a surge in cases in recent years. In 2022 alone, it affected 2,377 individuals, marking a substantial increase from just 53 cases reported in 2016. Its rapid spread across the majority of US states and in 40 countries worldwide has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to classify it as an escalating threat. According to CDC data, in 2021, the fungus infected 1,471 people.

Characteristics of Candida Auris

Target Population: Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, are at increased risk of infection by Candida auris, a fungus that can cause severe illness.

Drug Resistance: Candida auris has developed resistance to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat fungal infections, making treatment challenging and sometimes ineffective.

Healthcare-Associated Infections: Patients in healthcare settings, particularly those using medical devices like feeding tubes, breathing tubes, or catheters, are more susceptible to Candida auris infections, which can spread easily within healthcare facilities.

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How Candida auris Spread

How Candida auris Spread

Healthcare Settings: Candida auris is primarily contracted in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and nursing homes. The risk is higher for patients with weakened immune systems and those using medical devices.

Colonization: The fungus can live on the skin or other body parts without causing illness, a condition known as being “colonized.” This colonization can occur in specific regions like the skin, rectum, or mouth without apparent symptoms.

Invasive Infections: Candida auris can either exist as a colonizer without causing symptoms or escalate into severe invasive infections by entering the bloodstream or wounds. The severity depends on the individual’s health status and immune response.

Modes of Spread: Transmission can occur through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment in healthcare environments. Additionally, physical contact with an infected or colonized person can facilitate the spread of Candida auris. Stringent infection control measures are crucial to prevent transmission in healthcare settings.

Candida auris Symptoms

Candida auris Symptoms

Health authorities, spearheaded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), are sounding urgent alarms regarding Candida auris, a fungal infection that has emerged as a significant health concern. Unlike bacterial infections characterized by identifiable symptoms, Candida auris infections pose a challenge due to their variable manifestations, affecting various parts of the body such as the bloodstream, open wounds, and ears.

The CDC emphasizes that the symptoms of Candida auris infections vary depending on the site and severity of the infection, rendering prompt diagnosis difficult. This ambiguity underscores the importance of heightened vigilance in healthcare settings, especially when considering Candida auris Symptoms.

What makes Candida auris particularly worrisome is its ability to colonize individuals without causing illness. This implies that even asymptomatic carriers can unknowingly transmit the fungus to others. The CDC warns that colonized individuals can contaminate surfaces and objects they touch, thereby facilitating transmission to other patients.


In response to this escalating threat, healthcare facilities are advised to implement stringent infection control measures. Patients identified as colonized or infected with Candida auris should be isolated in separate rooms, considering the variability in Candida auris Symptoms. These rooms must undergo thorough cleaning with disinfectant products, and caregivers should don gloves and gowns to prevent further spread.

Furthermore, strict hand hygiene protocols are crucial in containing the spread of Candida auris, considering the diverse Candida auris symptoms. Healthcare workers and visitors are instructed to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash their hands meticulously before entering and leaving patient rooms, as well as before and after any contact with the patient or their medical devices.

As the battle against Candida auris intensifies, public health efforts are focused on raising awareness and implementing robust infection control strategies to curb its spread within healthcare settings and communities alike, taking into account the variable nature of Candida auris Symptoms. Vigilance and proactive measures remain paramount in combating this elusive fungal threat.

How To Prevent Candida Auris

How To Prevent Candida Auris
  • Heightened Awareness: Ensure healthcare professionals are educated about Candida auris, its symptoms, and the challenges in diagnosis.
  • Early Detection Protocols: Implement screening measures to identify asymptomatic carriers, considering the elusive nature of Candida auris infections.
  • Isolation Practices: Isolate patients found to be colonized or infected with Candida auris in separate rooms to prevent transmission, taking into account the variability in symptoms.
  • Thorough Cleaning: Conduct rigorous cleaning of rooms and surfaces using effective disinfectant products, focusing on areas frequented by patients exhibiting Candida auris symptoms.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Mandate the use of gloves and gowns by caregivers when in contact with patients, particularly those showing signs of Candida auris infection.
  • Hand Hygiene Protocols: Enforce strict hand hygiene practices, including the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer or thorough handwashing before and after entering patient rooms, and following any contact with patients or their medical devices.
  • Visitor Guidelines: Educate healthcare workers and visitors on the importance of adhering to infection control measures, especially considering the potential for asymptomatic carriers to transmit Candida auris.
  • Public Health Campaigns: Launch awareness campaigns to inform the general public about Candida auris, its symptoms, and preventive measures to encourage proactive health practices.
  • Collaboration and Reporting: Foster collaboration between healthcare facilities and public health agencies to ensure prompt reporting and sharing of information related to Candida auris cases.
  • Research and Development: Invest in research to enhance understanding of Candida auris, including its transmission dynamics, variability in symptoms, and potential treatment options.
  • Continuous Training: Provide ongoing training for healthcare professionals to stay updated on the latest information, diagnostic methods, and treatment strategies for Candida auris.
  • Surveillance Programs: Establish robust surveillance programs to monitor the prevalence and trends of Candida auris infections, enabling timely interventions and adjustments to preventive measures.
  • International Coordination: Facilitate international collaboration and information exchange to address the global nature of the Candida auris threat and share best practices in preventive measures.

Candida auris Treatment

Candida auris Treatment
  • While the majority of Candida auris infections can be treated with antifungal drugs, a concerning trend has emerged with certain cases displaying resistance to all three primary classes of antifungal medications.
  • This resistance poses a significant challenge in treatment, necessitating the adoption of combination therapies that involve multiple drugs to enhance effectiveness. Dealing with these resistant infections requires a careful and individualized approach, often involving consultation with infectious disease specialists and utilization of alternative strategies to address this growing public health concern.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ’s)

1. What are Candida auris infection symptoms?

Symptoms of Candida auris infection include fever, chills, fatigue, and difficulty breathing. In severe cases, it can cause bloodstream infections, wound infections, or infections of internal organs. If you suspect you have it, see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

2. How is Candida auris transmitted?

Candida auris spreads mainly through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment in healthcare settings, or from person to person. It can be transmitted by healthcare workers’ hands, contaminated medical devices, or surfaces. Strict infection control, like handwashing and disinfecting surfaces, is vital to stop its spread.

3. Where is Candida auris most commonly found?

Candida auris is commonly found in healthcare settings, particularly in hospitals and long-term care facilities. It has been reported in various countries worldwide, including the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America.

4. Candida auris symptoms skin

Symptoms of Candida auris infection on the skin can include redness, itching, irritation, and the presence of lesions or sores. However, it’s important to note that Candida auris is primarily known for causing bloodstream infections and infections of internal organs rather than skin infections. If you suspect a skin infection caused by Candida auris, seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.

5. Where Candida auris originated?

The exact origin of Candida auris is uncertain, but it was first identified in Japan in 2009. Since then, it has been reported in various countries around the world, including the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America.

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