Featured Articles

Candida Auris

Drug-resistant fungal infection

Candida auris is a drug-resistant fungus, making it one of the most challenging infections. These fungal species cause outbreaks in healthcare settings, so it is essential to quickly identify the presence of Candida auris in patients, especially those who spend long periods in healthcare facilities, intensive care units, or nursing homes, to take special precautions to stop its spread.

Candida auris, also known as “white spot disease,” is classified as a type of yeast that poses a threat to individuals with weakened immune systems if it enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infection can result in the death of 30 to 60 percent of those affected.

On the other hand, diagnosing this type of fungus requires specialized laboratory equipment, and treating it is difficult due to its resistance to common antifungal drugs, which exacerbates the severity of this problem. Therefore, improving diagnostic methods can contribute to the early detection of Candida auris in infected individuals, ensuring that patients receive the appropriate treatment promptly and preventing the transmission of the infection from person to person. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are increasingly concerned about this type of fungus, as it has recently shown the ability to resist multiple drugs and treatments, and it is difficult to identify in laboratories or easily misidentify due to the need for specialized techniques for diagnosis. This poses a danger as it contributes to the rapid spread of the infection.

What is Candida Auris?

Candida auris is a type of microbial fungus that can be transmitted through human infections. It is associated with what is known as “white internal fungi,” which are common fungi that cause oral infections, for example.

It was first discovered in the ear canal of a Japanese patient at the Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital in 2009, where these fungi grow as colonies. It is one of the few species of the Candida family that causes white spot disease in humans. Often, infections with white spot disease occur in hospitals among patients with weakened immune systems.

Most of the time, Candida auris lives on the skin’s surface without causing any problems, but it can cause infections when we feel tired or sick or when the microbe enters places like the bloodstream or the lungs.

The fungus can spread in elderly care homes and nursing facilities, causing outbreaks in healthcare settings through contact with infected patients, surfaces, or contaminated equipment. It is also resistant to standard cleaning fluids and disinfectants, which increases its severity and ease of transmission.

Moreover, it can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing severe infections in the respiratory system, central nervous system, and internal organs such as the kidneys, liver, spleen, skin, and eyes. Patients who stay in hospitals for long periods, have central venous catheters or other inserted tubes, or have received antibiotics or antifungal medications in the past are more susceptible to the risk of infection with this fungus.

What are its complications?

The fungus Candida auris can cause serious bloodstream infections and affect the respiratory and nervous systems, internal organs in the human body, and the skin.

It often does not respond to commonly used antifungal medications typically used to treat Candida infections. Some strains are resistant to three types of antifungal drugs, making it extremely difficult to treat the diseases.

This type of fungus can cause a deadly condition known as invasive candidiasis, which affects the bloodstream, central nervous system, and internal organs.

How does it spread?

The risk of infection increases when staying in healthcare facilities for a long time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is unlikely to acquire Candida auris infection in everyday life.

It primarily spreads through contaminated hospital surfaces and can adhere to intravenous catheters and blood pressure monitoring devices. With this type of fungus, surface cleaning becomes highly challenging. Often, the solution is to close entire units or sections.

How can we prevent the spread of Candida auris?

Cleanliness and sanitation are crucial steps in prevention. Anyone who interacts with the patient and has direct contact should maintain hand hygiene by washing hands with soap or using sanitizers before and after touching the patient infected with the fungus, as well as their equipment and belongings in their room.

Healthcare workers should pay continuous attention to hand hygiene, wear personal protective clothing, and thoroughly clean the patient’s room.

Medical laboratory professionals should know how to identify fungal infection cases, isolate and identify them promptly to prevent their spread among patients. Additionally, reporting new cases to health authorities is essential for early monitoring of its spread in healthcare facilities.

Maintaining cleanliness remains the optimal solution to control and prevent the spread of the microbe. Early detection is crucial for the patient and the hospital. Healthcare providers and workers in the healthcare field should pay greater attention to patients who spend a long time in hospitals, especially those with compromised immune systems, as they face a higher risk of infection with this microbe.

World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization recently classified 19 types of fungi as the greatest threats to public health. Including these fungi aims to enhance research efforts, improve the response to fungal infections, and combat antifungal resistance.

Candida auris, a type of white spot fungus, is among the fungi that pose a health risk. The organization has warned that new groups risk developing invasive fungal diseases, and continuous identification is necessary.

Among its key recommendations for countries addressing fungal diseases, the World Health Organization emphasizes the need to strengthen laboratory capacities and surveillance to better understand the burden of infection and antifungal resistance. The organization states that “antifungal drug resistance is partly driven by inappropriate use of antifungal agents,” noting that misuse of antifungals has been associated with increased infections caused by Aspergillus fungi, also known as “smoke fungus,” which has a broad capacity for spreading.


Advanced devices for infection control

Ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation is considered the most effective sterilization method, as it deactivates viruses and bacteria and reduces the risk of infection. Studies in this field have shown that UVC can successfully disinfect an area from Candida auris infection with more prolonged exposure and at close range.

Studies in this field have demonstrated the remarkable effectiveness of UVC disinfection in preventing the spread of the disease. Through rigorous microbiological analysis following the British standard for evaluating UVC disinfection devices, they have shown the ability to eliminate Candida auris efficiently.

Hospitals or healthcare facilities need to recognize the importance of using this method for disinfection to reduce Candida auris infection, protect critical environments, and address the antimicrobial threat within their premises. Unfortunately, this type of yeast has a high survival rate on solid surfaces, potentially lasting for weeks.

However, integrating surface disinfection using UVC devices alongside proper hand hygiene practices can significantly impact the spread of harmful microorganisms.

Related Articles

Back to top button