Via STAT: CDC chief fears a deadly superbug's spread. Excerpt:
ATLANTA — Public health officials have a lot on their plate now: Outbreaks of measles and flu, soaring deaths from opioid overdoses, funding cuts. But for Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the scariest threats is a deadly fungus.
The lethal fungus, known as Candida auris, has killed at least 61 people in the United States in recent years, mostly in New York, New Jersey, and Illinois. And Schuchat fears it could spread.
The superbug poses a “catastrophic threat” to the public, Schuchat told STAT in a recent interview.
Identified eight years ago in Japan, C. auris has spread around the world. It can infect wounds, infiltrate the bloodstream, and take root in the urinary tract, and it’s resistant to many antifungal drugs. Health officials have warned US clinicians to watch for the fungus in hospitals. Patients who have undergone recent surgery, used central venous catheters, or been hospitalized for lengthy periods, as well as those with diabetes, are particularly at risk. The fatality rate appears to be unusually high: About 60 percent of those who get infected with C. auris have died, the CDC said.
“Eradication of Candida auris from hospitals is very difficult and in some cases has led to closing hospital wards,” Mahmoud Ghannoum, director of the Center for Medical Mycology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, said upon releasing a study last month.