Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that a type of yeast called Candida auris (C. auris) has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients. In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. This yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat. Patients who have been hospitalized in a healthcare facility a long time, have a central venous catheter, or other lines or tubes entering their body, or have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast.
West Virginia is concerned about C. auris and here's why:
C. auris has caused bloodstream infections, wound infections, and ear infections. It also has been isolated from respiratory and urine specimens, but it is unclear if it causes infections in the lung or bladder.
Like other Candida infections, C. auris infections are usually diagnosed by culture of blood or other body fluids. However, C. auris is harder to identify from cultures than other, more common types of Candida. For example, it can be confused with other types of yeasts, particularly Candida haemulonii. Special laboratory tests are needed to identify C. auris.
Candida auris is a nationally notifiable condition. Laboratories that identify cases of C. auris should report cases immediately to the state or local health department.