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Hospital authorities in Hong Kong have issued a warning because of the large increase in infections from Candida auris this year. There have been 136 cases of the fungal infection this year alone, compared to only 20 in the whole of 2019. According to the South China Morning Post, this strain is also showing signs of being drug-resistant. Authorities in China will also be concerned about infections of Candida auris.
The fungal infection attacks oral cavities, the digestive tract, skin and the vagina.
Health authorities have suggested the outbreak is due to the luck of isolation wards available because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Now authorities are worried the drug resistant superbug will spread to communities in the city.
Hong Kong’s chief infection control officer Doctor Raymond Lai said: “We hope to control the fungus within the hospitals and elderly homes, so it won’t be spread to the community.”
“Some hospitals don’t have isolation rooms in their general wards, so they can only put Candida auris patients at the corner of these wards as a precautionary measure, which can increase chances of cross infection.”
Doctor Lai said the fungal infection could easily spread in hospitals and elderly homes.
It spreads through the shedding of skin, and the superbug could linger in the environment for weeks.
People who have compromised immune systems are most at risk from getting a serious infection.
Normally, to protect against the superbug spreading, health care workers would use separate medical equipment for all patients.
Doctor Lai added: “Currently the patients need to share medical equipment, but we aim to have separate equipment for every single patient and prevent cross infection between them.”
Candida auris is a species of fungus that is causing great concerns as a possible emergent global health threat.
The US Centre for Disease Control lists it as having three concerning aspects.
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The CDC states: “It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
“Some strains are resistant to all three available classes of antifungals.
“It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management.
“It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings.
“For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in a hospitalised patient so that healthcare facilities can take special precautions to stop its spread.”
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