What is C. auris?
Candida auris (C. auris), a type of yeast, is an emerging fungus that can cause infections anywhere in the body, including the more worrisome severe invasive infections such as bloodstream infections. It was first identified in Japan in 2009, and infections have now been reported on every populated continent, including in North America and the United States. The risk to the general public and otherwise healthy people, including healthcare workers, is extremely low.1,4
What are the symptoms of a C. 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 infection are usually already ill from other medical conditions or have spent a prolonged time in healthcare settings — particularly long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHS) or ventilator-capable skilled nursing facilities (vSNFs)—and have lines and tubes that go into their body (such as breathing tubes, feeding tubes, and central venous catheters), 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.1,2
How does C. 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.2
Why is C. 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, has a high mortality rate, is difficult to identify with standard laboratory tests, and it has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings.3,5
Candida auris Infection Control Measures
- Emphasize adherence to hand hygiene protocols.
- Place C. auris patients in single-patient rooms with dedicated medical equipment and implement standard and contact precautions.
- Perform enhanced cleaning and disinfection of patient care environments and reusable equipment (2-3 times daily and terminal cleaning) with CDC-recommended products.
- Conduct surveillance for new C. auris cases and outbreaks.6
- Screen contacts of newly identified case patients to identify C. auris colonization.
- Prior to transfer, inform receiving facilities of patients with C. auris. The CDC Inter-Facility Infection Control Transfer Form assists in fostering communication during transitions of care.7