Candida auris is a fungus belonging to the family of Candida species. Most people are familiar with Candida albicans infection as it is a common yeast infection of Candida family. Candida auris on the other hand was detected recently in 2009 in Japan from a patients ear discharge for the first time. Auris in Latin stands for ear thus it was named Candida auris.
Candida auris infection is more concerning because it causes serious illness in hospitalized patients and the fungus is resistant to major anti fungal remedies. Hence there is greater risk of mortality in patients suffering from Candida auris infection.
Candida auris is mainly hospital acquired infection. Mainly people with immune compromised status or those in ICU for long time with a central venous catheter placed in the vein are at greater risk of contracting this pathogenic infection.
Transmission Of Candida Auris
Candida auris infection is caused by Candida auris fungus. This fungus like other fungus species is opportunistic microorganism. The fungus invades and infects people who are sick or have some underlying health problem. In healthy individual, it will not be able to cause serious infection even though the fungus may give rise to some minor symptoms.
Candida auris infection is nosocomial infection. It means an infection acquired during the period of hospitalization. The exact mode of transmission is not clear but the organism is believed to spread through direct person to person contact between the patient and hospital staff, visitor or non infected patients. The organism may also be present on the surface of medical instruments (catheters, surgical instrumentation, mechanical ventilators, and intravenous devices in critically ill ICU patients) which may get transmitted to the patient if he comes in contact with such instruments and hospital equipments.
The important point in most patients infected with Candida auris fungus is they have some underlying disease which compromises their immune system. Following are the risk factors:
Weak immunity caused due to underlying diseases or conditions such as:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- HIV infection
- Organ transplant
- Chemotherapy and radiation for cancer treatment.
- Long time dialysis in patients with chronic kidney disease.
- Patients taking broad spectrum antibiotics for long duration.
- Patients who have indwelling catheter for long time.
Signs And Symptoms Of Candida Auris Infection
Many people having healthy body and immune system may be carrying Candida auris on their body, but does not produce any symptom. Candida auris infection develops only in people having compromised or poor immunity. It can cause infection in the ear, bloodstream and in the wound.
Following are the most common symptoms associated with this pathogen:
- Infection in ear leading to pain and discharge from the ear and loss of hearing.
- Fever and chills that may mimic flu.
- Severe prostration and fatigue.
- Infection in an open wound.
- Itching and discharge from vagina if the infection is localized.
- Infection in the bloodstream causing septicemia, confusion, coma and death.
Treatment For Candida Auris Infection
Candida auris infection is a serious infection as in many cases treatment is difficult due to multiple drug resistance. The mode of treatment depends on the site of infection, immunity status of the patient and underlying risk factors.
Regularly doctors prescribe primary anti fungal drugs as with any other fungal infection. But as mentioned earlier if the fungus is resistant to major anti fungal medicines, treatment becomes difficult. The regular drugs are ineffective. In such cases multiple anti fungal drugs need to be administered to the patient. High doses of such drugs may be required to treat the infection.