The Royal Brompton in London report a 50 case outbreak of C. auris, and a range of IPC measures that you would expect to prevent further transmission, but failed to do so. What’s so special about Candida auris? Is it a superfungus?
All of a sudden, Candida auris seems to become the “new” global super villain. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control recently published the first, large European outbreak of C. auris in London with 50 cases (Schelenz et al.) and CDC just published the first 17 US cases (Vallabhaneni et al.). While I believe that C. auris deserves our full attention, as it is a multi-resistant yeast, with increased MICs to all three major classes of antifungals, likes to evades traditional diagnostic methods, seems to be difficult to eradicate from the hospital environment, and causes invasive nosocomial infections with high mortality, I am still amazed by the fact that – despite the global society we live in – this “new” villain first has to come to Europe or even more important the US, before becoming a recognized “superbug”.
C. auris was first described in 2009 in Japan and cases of candidemia have since been reported from South Korea, India, South Africa, and Kuwait, in addition to unpublished reports from Colombia, Venezuela, and Pakistan. While “global migration” may come to mind for the rise of C. auris, it seems unlikely, as different continents and countries seem to have their own clones. Selection pressure due to the increasing use of antifungals in healthcare, livestock, and agriculture might be a more feasable explanation, but the true reasons for the recent emergence are still unknown.
I assume that many countries will issue guidelines with regard to diagnostic methods, reporting to health authorities, environmental cleaning and infection control, but as that might take time, those of us in infection control should get prepared and stay informed, not to be surprised to see C. auris emerging within their own setting.
Literature and links
Schelenz et al. First hospital outbreak of the globally emerging Candida auris in a European hospital, Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control20165:35
Chowdhary et al. Multidrug resistant Candida auris: New kid on the block in hospital associated infections? Journal of Hospital Infection August 2016, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhin.2016.08.004
Satoh et al., Candida auris sp. nov., a novel ascomycetous yeast isolated from the external ear canal of an inpatient in a Japanese hospital. Microbiol Immunol, 2009;53:41-44
Lee et al., First three reported cases of nosocomial fungemia caused by Candida auris. J Clin Microbiol, 2011;49:3139-42.
Chowdhary et al. New clonal strain of Candida auris, Delhi, India. Emerg Infect Dis, 2013; 19:1670-73.
I am currently reading ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ by Professor Dame Sally Davies, Dr Jonathan Grant and Professor Mike Catchpole (yes, I know I’m several years late to this particular party). I might do a book review for the blog once I’ve finished it – but an interesting question emerged in the early chapters. The author seem to make a point of referring to ‘antimicrobials’ rather than ‘antibiotics’ in the early part of the book, but later on, antibiotics appears as a common term. Which got me to thinking about what is the most appropriate generic term for what most people would term ‘antibiotics’ (what your GP gives you when you’ve got a snuffle, I mean potentially serious bacterial infection)?