Dr. Myrna Rezcallah
Candida auris is a fungus that is creating a significant public health threat, causing severe healthcare associated infections. Commonly misidentified in laboratories, C. auris is extremely resistant to most antifungal medications. C. auris infections are most commonly identified through a culture of the blood or other bodily fluid, but can be misidentified for other Candida strains. The most reliable way to accurately identify C. auris is through matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF MS). One of the biggest challenges of managing C. auris is differentiating it quickly enough from other Candida species in order to treat it appropriately. C. auris’ resistance to antifungal medications makes it an urgent threat that can cause severe infections with high death rates. The death rate of patients with C. auris remains between 45-55%. Although this is concerning, the fungus is not generally a threat to healthy people. The fungus is the most dangerous to the immune systems of patients during long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities or to those patients with already weakened immune systems. The main finding in patients diagnosed with this deadly fungus is a bloodstream infection with symptoms such as a fever, chills, sweating, and low blood pressure. C. auris’ ability to live on surfaces for several weeks makes it that much more dangerous to hospital residents through contaminated surfaces and equipment.