Get the Facts About Candida Auris

A strain of Candida auris cultured at the NYSDOH public health laboratory, Wadsworth Center.

A strain of Candida auris cultured at the NYSDOH public health laboratory, Wadsworth Center.

What is Candida auris?

Candida auris (C. auris) is an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast. Public health authorities in several countries have reported that C. auris has caused severe illness in hospitalized patients. Infections caused by C. auris often do not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making them difficult to treat. Also, C. auris can persist on surfaces in healthcare environments and spread between patients in healthcare facilities. Patients who have a long stay in an intensive care unit, have serious medical conditions, and who have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection.

C. auris can be spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, or from physical contact with a person who is infected or colonized.

How can the spread of C. auris be prevented?

Meticulous attention to infection prevention and control, including good hand hygiene (either hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitizing with an alcohol-based hand rub), is critical for everyone including healthcare personnel and healthcare facility visitors. It is important that healthcare personnel strictly follow infection prevention and control measures, such as the proper use of gowns and gloves. When visiting a healthcare facility, visitors must follow facility directions to prevent the spread of infection. Finally, appropriate and effective environmental cleaning and disinfection by the healthcare facility is a key part of infection prevention and control.

Here are some videos on how to perform proper hand hygiene:

Is C. auris treatable?

Most C. auris infections are treatable with antifungal drugs. However, some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications, making them more difficult to treat.

C. auris in New York State

New York State Case Count (as of August 13th, 2018)

  • C. auris clinical case count: 209
    This group includes individuals who were ill and had C. auris detected during their clinical care.
  • C. auris screening case count: 274
    This group includes individuals who were not ill from C. auris and were tested specifically for C. auris as part of a public health investigation.

There are currently 16 individuals that are reflected above as both a screening case and clinical case based on Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) definition.

Cases in New York are primarily concentrated among hospital patients and nursing home residents in New York City.

New York State Department of Health response to C. auris

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is at the forefront of a national response to C. auris and is taking aggressive action to contain the spread of C. auris in hospitals and nursing homes. NYSDOH has provided guidance and assistance to hospitals and nursing homes to strengthen readiness, enhance surveillance, and implement effective infection prevention and control measures for C. auris.

When C. auris is confirmed or suspected, NYSDOH recommends that the patient be housed in a private room or cohorted with other patients or residents also infected or colonized with C. auris. Facilities should also maintain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment. Facilities should thoroughly clean and disinfect the healthcare environment.

Candida auris Screening Information

NYSDOH convened a roundtable meeting with healthcare leadership to discuss C. auris response and implementation of strict infection prevention and control and environmental cleaning and disinfection measures.

Additionally, NYSDOH is taking the following actions:

  • Conducting on site reviews of hospitals and nursing homes in high risk areas to assess compliance with infection prevention and control requirements.
  • Testing clinical and environmental samples for C. auris at the NYSDOH public health laboratory, the Wadsworth Center. The Wadsworth Center is funded by the CDC as one of seven Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network regional laboratories across the nation, with a focus on drug resistant Candida.
  • Requiring clinical staff of all hospitals and nursing homes located in New York City to participate in enhanced infection prevention and control education. Clinical staff in facilities outside of New York City are also encouraged to participate. Click on the link below to view a webinar for NYS healthcare personnel on C. auris.

Resources

Clean Hands Count