Fungus – The world has been dealing with the aftereffects of Covid-19, which caused a global epidemic and shifted life to a new normal with new views.
As things have slowed, additional health issues, primarily caused by fungus, have surfaced.
A dangerous fungal illness was discovered in the United States years ago.
Although scientists frequently uncover new fungus, the strain has been shown to be resistant to treatment.
When it was originally identified, the fungus was only found in a few screens.
The number of patients diagnosed with infections has risen since then.
According to recent federal research, the drug-resistant and possibly lethal fungus is quickly spreading throughout American healthcare institutions.
The fungus is a yeast variation known as Candida Auris, or C. auris in patients with weakened immune systems that produces severe disease.
When the fungus was first detected in the United States in 2016, the number of persons diagnosed and those uncovered through screening has increased dramatically.
The latest increases are especially troubling, according to Dr. Meghan Lyman, chief medical officer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’ve seen increases not just in areas of ongoing transmissions but also in new areas,” said Lyman.
The latest CDC warning was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
It also comes at a time when the Mississippi Department of Health is dealing with a fungal infestation.
According to Mississippi epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers, 12 persons have been infected with Candida Auris since November, with four probable fatalities.
Transmission has also been reported at two long-term care institutions.
Unfortunately, instances have been discovered in a number of other sites around the state.
“Unfortunately, multi-drug resistant organisms such as C. auris have become more prevalent among our highest risk individuals, such as residents in long-term care facilities,” said Byers.
According to the CDC, the fungus can be found on the skin and throughout the body.
They also stated that the fungus poses little hazard to healthy people, noting that just one-third of those infected with Candida Auris die.
Researchers reviewed state and local health department data on patients infected with the fungus from 2016 through December 31, 2021, according to the CDC study.
Scientists also looked at patients who had been “colonized,” meaning they weren’t sick but had the fungus on their body and might pass it on to others.
Read also: COVID testing for Chinese arrivals ends
Researchers discovered that the number of patients colonized but not afflicted with the fungus increased by 21% in 2020 compared to 2019.
In addition, there was a 209% growth in 2021, with a 4,041 increase that year compared to 1,310 in 2020.
According to the most recent study, Candida Auris has been discovered in more than half of the United States.
It was especially disturbing to see how the number of fungal samples that were resistant to typical treatments was growing.
Lyman is optimistic that the new article would raise awareness of Candida Auris and put it on the radar of healthcare practitioners, encouraging hospitals to practice “good infection control.”
The latest findings are quite troubling, according to Dr. Waleed Javaid, an epidemiologist, infectious disease expert, and director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Downtown in New York.
“But we don’t want people who watched ‘The Last of Us’ to think we’re all going to die,” said Javaid, referring to the hit video game adaptation of the massive video game.
“This is an infection that occurs in extremely ill individuals who are usually sick with a lot of other issues.”
According to Javaid, even if the fungus spreads from hospitals to communities, it is unlikely to be a problem for healthy individuals who do not have intrusive equipment such as catheters implanted into their blood arteries.
The main issue is stopping the fungus from infecting humans who come into touch with it as well as patient rooms.
“By its nature, it has an extreme ability to survive on surfaces,” said Javaid.
“It can colonize walls, cables, beddings, chairs. We clean everything with bleach and UV light.”
The fungus was found in Asia in 2009, but scientists revealed that it originally existed globally a decade earlier.
Experts re-examined previous data, according to Dr. Graham Snyder of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and discovered cases when Candida Auris was confused for another fungus.
“It’s the pattern we’ve observed with these types of pathogens,” said Snyder.
“Often they start out extremely rare, then they emerge in more and more places and become more widespread.”
Snyder emphasized the importance of preventing the infection, which is similar to the drug-resistant bacteria MRSA, from spreading outside of hospitals and long-term care facilities.
“It’s not unusual to see MRSA in the community now,” said Snyder.
“Will that happen with C. Auris? I don’t know. That’s partly why the CDC is raising the alarm.”