The Grapevine

Mysterious Infection That Killed Many Globally Penetrates The US

The drug-resistant germ, called Candida auris, that has been spreading across the globe is now roaming around the U.S. and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) already added the infection to its list of “urgent threats.”

C. auris targets people with weak immune system. The infection was first identified in 2009 and has already caused emergencies and closed down hospitals in Venezuela, Spain, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan and South Africa, The New York Times reported.

In the U.S., the latest patient to die of the infection was reported in May of last year in the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital. The man died after staying 90 days in the hospital. 

However, C. auris remains everywhere in his room, which required the hospital to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it. 

“Everything was positive — the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump,” Scott Lorin, the hospital’s president, said. “The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive.”

According to CDC, there have been 587 cases of people having contracted C. auris across the U.S. More than 300 of the patients came from New York, 104 were in New Jersey and the remaining 144 came from Illinois.

The earliest known case of the infection in the U.S. was reported at a New York hospital in 2013. The patient was initially admitted for respiratory failure but died because of the infection a week later.

Scientists remain clueless about the origin of the germ. The deadly infection causes fever, aches and fatigue, which can be fatal if left untreated. 

“It is a creature from the black lagoon,” Tom Chiller, head of the fungal branch at the CDC, said. “It bubbled up and now it is everywhere.”

The CDC warned that C. auris can spread into long-term care facilities, even on intravenous lines and ventilators. 

In the U.S., 23,000 people die annually due to drug-resistant infections. Two million people contract such infections every year. 

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