CDC's secrecy of drug-resistant outbreaks in hospitals sparks patient safety debate

11 April, 2019, 05:11 | Author: Jerome Frank
  • Bacteria with special resistance to antibiotics are increasingly found in the US increasing worries that the country will soon see a superbug that cannot be treated with known medications

NY has seen more than 300 cases, while there have been 144 cases in IL, most in Chicago.

A mystery disease that's often hard to detect is now being labeled an "urgent threat" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Per the CDC, a total of 587 cases of C. auris have been reported in the United States as of the end of February, with another 30 probable cases reported.

The CDC also reported that the median age for the clinical case-patients was 72, but that the ages of those infected ranged from 21 to 96 years.

Dr Colin Brown, Consultant Medical Microbiologist for Public Health England's national infection service, said, "Candida auris is an uncommon fungus in the United Kingdom and our enhanced surveillance shows a low risk to patients in healthcare settings".

"Most strains of C. auris are resistant to at least one antifungal drug, one-third are resistant to two antifungal drug classes, and some strains are resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs". In a 2018 study appearing in Emerging Infectious Diseases, 45% of patients with C. auris died within 90 days.

The strength and resistance of the infection led the CDC to deem C. auris an "serious threat", and said it infected 3,400 and caused 220 deaths per year.

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There has been little coverage on this global outbreak, mostly because many hospitals and governments are reluctant to disclose such outbreaks for fear of being seen as infection hubs, The New York Times reported.

According to the Times, people with compromised or weakened immune systems - including elderly people, people who are already sick, and newborns - are the most vulnerable. After getting his blood tested, it was revealed that he was infected with Candida auris, a fungus that was recently discovered but has been identified in patients around the world. It can cause infections in the bloodstream, as well as wound and ear infections.

Given the speed at which the inspection spreads, coupled with its resistance to medication, "the prospect of an endemic or epidemic multidrug-resistant yeast in U.S. healthcare facilities is troubling", the CDC said in October. NY has had 309 confirmed cases, New Jersey has had 104 and IL had had 144. She called the fungus "worrisome" because it's drug resistant. "It is also critical that healthcare systems are optimized to prevent the spread of Candida auris".

About 60 percent of those who've been infected with C auris have died, the CDC said.

While C. auris is resistant to some antifungal drugs, it is susceptible to others that can be used to treat it.

The New York State Department of Health has stated on their website that they are taking "aggressive" action to keep C. auris in check and have instituted a number of protocols in hospitals and nursing homes throughout the state.

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