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US CDC warns of rapid spread of emerging fungus

Washington, March 22 (IANS) The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned of a rapid rise and geographic spread of an emerging fungus called Candida auris (C. auris).

C. auris is considered as an urgent antimicrobial resistance (AR) threat, because it is often resistant to multiple antifungal drugs, spreads easily in healthcare facilities, and can cause severe infections with high death rates, Xinhua news agency quoted the CDC as saying.

The fungus spread at an alarming rate in US healthcare facilities in 2020 to 2021, according to CDC data.

“Equally concerning was a tripling in 2021 of the number of cases that were resistant to echinocandins, the antifungal medicine most recommended for treatment of C. auris infections,” the health body said.

The CDC said C. auris is not a threat to healthy people.

But people who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities are at increased risk for acquiring C. auris.

“The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasises the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control,” said CDC epidemiologist Meghan Lyman.