The director of the National Reference Centre for Invasive Fungus Infections, Oliver Kurzai, holding in his hands a petri dish holding the yeast candida auris in a laboratory of Wuerzburg University in Wuerzburg, Germany, 23 January 2018.

The director of the National Reference Centre for Invasive Fungus Infections, Oliver Kurzai, holding in his hands a petri dish holding the yeast candida auris in a laboratory of Wuerzburg University in Wuerzburg, Germany, 23 January 2018.

Over the past several years, doctors have discovered the fungal infection Candida auris in patients around the world. They’ve also noticed something else — that the fungus resists many types of treatment.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 600 cases of candida auris have been reported in the United States. Nearly half of those with the illness have died within 90 days.

The New York Times reported that after a Brooklyn hospital failed to treat a patient infected with C. auris, “tests showed it was everywhere in his room, so invasive that the hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it.”

Here’s more from the report:

It often has been hard to gather details about the path of C. auris because hospitals and nursing homes have been unwilling to publicly disclose outbreaks or discuss cases, creating a culture of secrecy around the infection. States have kept confidential the locations of hospitals where outbreaks have occurred, citing patient confidentiality and a risk of unnecessarily scaring the public.

What can be done to eliminate this harmful fungus? And how do we address the spread of treatment-resistant fungi and bacteria?

Show produced by Jonquilyn Hill.

Guests

  • Tom Chiller Chief, Center for Disease Control Mycotic Diseases Branch
  • Matt Richtel Journalist, The New York Times; author, "An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System." @mrichtel

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