Washington state health officials are closely monitoring a concerning development as they investigate the first confirmed case of Candida auris, or C. auris, in the region. The patient, a man from Pierce County, tested positive for colonization of the multidrug-resistant fungus on July 13.
The diagnosed individual had undergone an admission screening at Kindred Hospital Seattle–First Hill, where the presence of C. auris was detected. He had been a patient at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma for about six weeks before this. .
Unfortunately, the man is already grappling with multiple comorbidities, which heightens the risk associated with this fungal infection. Notably, there is no record of recent travel outside the state, leading health authorities to believe that this is the first locally acquired case of C. auris in Washington.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Health, Public Health Seattle-King County, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, and Kindred Hospitals, has sprung into action to investigate the case thoroughly.
The Rising Threat of Candida auris Infection
In light of the seriousness of C. auris infections, the Washington State Department of Health issued a health alert, urging healthcare facilities and providers to remain vigilant and implement necessary preventive measures.
Candida auris is a type of yeast known for causing severe illness, especially in individuals with pre-existing serious medical conditions, who may have spent prolonged periods in hospitals. While some individuals can carry C. auris without exhibiting any symptoms, they still have the potential to spread the fungus to others, posing a significant challenge in containing its transmission.
It has been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that C. The number of auris infections recorded in the US has increased since 2013, and as of last year, there were 5,654 cases. Western states have also been plagued by this dangerous fungus.
Sadly, the mortality rate associated with C. auris infections is alarming, with more than one in three patients succumbing to the illness. The CDC asserts that the risk of C. auris infection is exceedingly low for otherwise healthy individuals, including healthcare personnel.
However, those with compromised immune systems or underlying medical conditions are particularly susceptible to the infection. As such, healthcare facilities must remain vigilant in their infection control practices, maintaining stringent protocols to prevent and manage outbreaks.
Source: Fox News