What Is the Candida auris (C. auris) Superbug?

Overview

candida auris

A type of yeast called Candida auris (C. auris) is causing severe illness in hospitalized patients in healthcare facilities across the globe. This fungus can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. Antifungal drugs are commonly used to treat Candida infections, but like other “superbugs,” C. auris is often resistant to multiple antifungal medications. Additionally, Candida auris can be difficult to identify using standard laboratory testing and is often misidentified, delaying appropriate treatment and precautions. In healthcare settings, C. auris has been documented to spread through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment and from patient to patient.1

Basic Facts

What is Candida auris?

Candida auris (C. auris), a type of yeast, is an emerging fungus that can cause infections anywhere in the body but most worrisome are the severe invasive infections such as bloodstream. It was first identified in Japan in 2009, and infections have now been reported on every continent, including in North America and the United States.2

What are the symptoms of a Candida auris infection?

Candida auris infection symptoms can vary greatly and are associated with the infected body site. Patients at highest risk of an invasive Candida infections are usually already ill from other medical conditions or have spent time in a high-risk environment such as a nursing home, making them more vulnerable. The most common symptoms of invasive Candida infection are fever and chills that do not improve after antibiotic treatment for a suspected bacterial infection.1

How does Candida auris spread?

While more research is still needed to further study how it spreads, C. auris has caused outbreaks within healthcare facilities via person-to-person contact and through contaminated surfaces or equipment. Effective cleaning and disinfection protocols are essential in preventing the spread of C. auris because the fungus can live on surfaces for several weeks.1

Why is Candida auris a concern?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers Candida auris an urgent threat. The CDC is concerned about C. auris because, like other “superbugs,” it is often multi-drug resistant, it is difficult to identify with standard laboratory tests, and it has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings.3

 

Candida auris Infection Control Measures

  1. Conduct surveillance for new C. auris cases and outbreaks.4
  2. Place C. auris patients in single-patient rooms with dedicated medical equipment and implement standard and contact precautions.
  3. Emphasize adherence to hand hygiene protocols.
  4. Clean and disinfect patient care environments and reusable equipment (daily and terminal cleaning) with CDC-recommended products.
  5. Screen contacts of newly identified case patients to identify C. auris colonization.
  6. Prior to transfer, inform receiving facilities of patients with C. auris. The CDC Inter-Facility Infection Control Transfer Form is one tool you can use to record transfer of patients with a C. auris infection.5

Products for Use Against Candida auris

Cleaning & Disinfecting

The CDC recommends use of a disinfectant that is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is effective against C. auris (see EPA List P).6 If a product with an EPA claim is not accessible or otherwise suitable, the CDC recommends using a disinfectant that is effective against C. difficile (see EPA List K).7 Disinfectants with an EPA claim for C. difficile have been used effectively against C. auris. It is important to follow the directions for use, including applying the product for the correct contact time. Increased attention to detail and monitoring for compliance should include:

  • Surfaces in patient rooms, with special attention to high-touch surfaces
  • Surfaces in areas where patients receive care (e.g., radiology, physical therapy, etc.)
  • Mobile and shared equipment (e.g., ventilators, physical therapy equipment, axillary thermometers)8

Clorox Healthcare Product Recommendations

The following Clorox Healthcare cleaner disinfectants can be used to effectively manage Candida auris on environmental surfaces and equipment in healthcare settings:

Products with an EPA-registered C. auris Claim

Product Name EPA Reg. No. C. auris Contact Time
Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Wipes
6″ x 5″ Clinical Wipes, 6/150 ct., Item No. 30577
6.75″ x 9″ Multipurpose Wipes, 6/70 ct., Item No. 35309
6.75″ x 9″ Multipurpose Wipes, 9/100 ct., Item No. 32621
6.75″ x 9″ Multipurpose Wipes, 6/50 ct., Item No. 31424
12″ x 12″ Terminal Wipes, 2/110 ct., Item No. 30358
12″ x 12″ Terminal Wipes Refill, 2/110 ct., Item No. 30359
67619-12 3 minutes
Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Cleaner
6/32 fl. oz. Spray, Item No. 30577
6/32 fl. oz. Pull-Top, Item No. 68832
4/128 fl. oz. Refill, Item No. 68978
56329-7 3 minutes
Clorox Healthcare® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes
6.75″ x 9″ Multipurpose Wipes, 6/95 ct., Item No. 30824
6.75″ x 5.75″ Clinical Wipes, 6/155 ct., Item No. 30825
12″ x 11″ Terminal Wipes, 2/185 ct. bucket, Item No. 30826
12″ x 11″ Terminal Wipes, 2/185 ct. refill pouch, Item No. 30827
6.75″ x 9″ Individual Wipes, 6/50 ct. carton, Item No. 31426
67619-25 5 minutes
Clorox Healthcare® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Liquids
9/32 fl. oz. Spray, Item No. 30828
9/32 fl. oz. Pull-Top, Item No. 31444
4/128 fl. oz. Refill, Item No. 30829
67619-40 3 minutes

Products with an EPA-registered C. difficile Claim

Product Name EPA Reg. No. C. difficile Contact Time
Fuzion® Cleaner Disinfectant
9/32 fl. oz. Spray, Item No. 31478
67619-30 2 minutes
Dispatch® Disinfectant Towels with Bleach
6.75″ x 8″ Wipes Canister, 8/150 ct., Item No. 69150
56392-8 3 minutes

References

1. General Information about Candida auris. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/candida-auris-qanda.html Updated 2019. Accessed March 24, 2022.
2. Tracking Candida auris. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/tracking-c-auris.html#world Updated 2022. Accessed March 24, 2022.
3. Healthcare Professionals FAQ | Candida auris | Fungal Diseases | CDC https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/c-auris-health-qa.html (accessed 2022 -05 -03).
4. Surveillance for Candida auris | Candida auris | Fungal Diseases | CDC https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/c-auris-surveillance.html (accessed 2022 -05 -03).
5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Inter-Facility Infection Control Transfer Form for States Establishing HAI Prevention Collaboratives.
6. List P: Antimicrobial Products Registered with EPA for Claims Against Candida Auris | US EPA https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-p-antimicrobial-products-registered-epa-claims-against-candida-auris (accessed 2022 -05 -03).
7. List K: EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products Effective against Clostridium difficile Spores | US EPA https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-k-epas-registered-antimicrobial-products-effective-against-clostridium (accessed 2022 -05 -03).
8. Infection Prevention and Control for Candida auris | Candida auris | Fungal Diseases | CDC https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/candida-auris/c-auris-infection-control.html (accessed 2022 -05 -03).

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