“Candida Auris: The Dangerous, Super-Resistant Fungus Spreading Across the World”

2023-05-26 16:01:54


An infection with Candida auris can be fatal for immunocompromised people. In Europe cases are increasing and in the United States they have quadrupled.

In In the United States, infections with the fungus Candida auris are multiplying. In 2020, 1,310 cases were registered. In 2022, they rose to 5,754. Although those numbers seem low in relation to the number of inhabitants, doctors are concerned. World Health Organization (OMS) included this fungus in the list of the 19 most dangerous pathogens of this type, last October.

In Europe these infections are also increasing, especially in Italy and Spain. Also in Germany there have been some cases.

The most affected

People with weakened immune systems are especially at risk. For this reason, the spread is greater in hospitals and care centers.

“If the fungus infects the bloodstream, it can lead to septicemia [infección generalizada, N. de la R.]. If it penetrates a tissue, it will reach the blood at some point and could reach all the organs”, explains Oliver Cornely, from the Center for Infectious Disease Studies at the University Clinic in Cologne, Germany.

Those caused by invasive fungi such as Candida auris are among the most frequent infectious diseases worldwide. Each year more than 1 billion people are affected. About 1.5 million die.

high resistance

Candida auris was first described in 2009. The infection appeared simultaneously in various parts of the world, for no known reason. Only recently has it become more common. “Candida auris is the newest of the yeast-like fungi that can affect humans. We all carry various fungi in our bodies. But usually the immune system keeps the balance, so people don’t have problems,” Cornely explains.

Candida auris has peculiarities that make it potentially dangerous for immunosuppressed people. Among them are resistors. “Resistances do not develop due to therapy or the pathogen’s habituation to antibiotics. This fungus is, so to speak, immune from birth. That makes it difficult to fight it,” adds the expert.

Also, it can survive on surfaces. That would explain its spread, according to scientists. There is no reason to panic, but fungal infections must be taken seriously and better diagnostic methods should be developed.

nonspecific symptoms

Fever and chills are symptoms of a Candida auris infection, but also of other diseases. Therefore, it is often difficult to diagnose. In addition, the fungus can develop in different parts of the body or inside tissues, where it is not visible. That delays the diagnosis.

Suspecting a fungal infection, a sample is taken and a culture is done. But until you have a clear result, it can take days. In that time, the pathogen can spread and the patient’s chances of healing are reduced.

When it has been determined which fungus it is, antifungals are applied. But there are only a few and they are not equally effective for all infections. Scientists argue that new drugs are needed and consider that this area of ​​research has been neglected, despite the high potential for danger.

Of course, not all fungi cause disease or can even cause death. Researchers estimate that there are about three million different fungi, of which only about 300,000 are known. And only between 150 and 300 have so far been listed as pathogens that affect humans. These are responsible for approximately 90 percent of deaths from fungal infections.


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