CDC issues warning about a drug-resistant fungal infection in NJ
⚫ Drug-resistant fungal infections are on the rise in NJ and the nation
⚫ C. auris can be deadly for those with a weakened immune system
⚫ The fungus can go from the skin into the bloodstream
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning about a surge of drug-resistant fungal infections at medical facilities in the Garden State and across the nation.
According to Dr. Darin Wiesner, a Rutgers New Jersey Medical School professor who studies fungal disease, Candida auris, commonly known as C auris, is a type of fungus that is especially dangerous for people with weakened immune systems.
“If it’s able to penetrate your skin, which is kind of the frontline barrier, it can quickly enter the bloodstream, and once it’s entered the bloodstream it is deposited in a variety of organs, mainly the kidney,” he said.
It can be deadly
He said because C. auris is drug-resistant, it can become deadly for immunocompromised patients including the elderly and those who are seriously ill in a healthcare setting.
“Once you have an infection as much as 50% of these individuals do not respond favorably to therapy.”
He said the fungus can be spread by touch and also by someone sneezing, but it’s important to understand C. auris does not pose a danger to people with normal healthy immune systems.
The most common symptoms of a C. auris infection include fever, chills, profuse sweating and low blood pressure.
No need to panic
He said no one needs to feel panicked.
“I think it’s a good idea for the public to understand what’s going on but I don’t think there’s really a need for people to drastically alter their behaviors.”
He said good hand-washing hygiene is important in environments where individuals are immunocompromised, such as acute care facilities.
Wiesner said the fungal infection is not easily identified on the skin, and detection of C. auris usually involves a sequencing technique only done in hospitals and regional testing facilities.