Long before, the World health organization decided that SARS CoV-2 was no longer a public health emergency of international concern, multiple outbreaks of infection by a known fungal pathogen, Candida auris (also called as C. auris) started to make news headlines, especially in the US. Many experts and health agencies have already started to call C. auris an emerging fungal pathogen with a serious global health threat.
Interesting Candida Auris Facts You Must Know
- Candida auris is a type of yeast that belongs to the Candida genus.
- The species name “auris” is derived from a Latin word that means ears, thus referring to the site (ear canal) of the human body from where it was first isolated.
- Candida auris was first identified in 2009 in Japan and has since been reported in multiple countries worldwide.
- One of the concerning characteristics of C. auris is its resistance to multiple antifungal drugs, thus making the infection difficult to treat and control.
- C. auris has a high environmental persistence, allowing it to survive and persist on surfaces for a long time.
- It primarily affects individuals with compromised immune systems, such as those with underlying health conditions, recent surgery, or prolonged hospitalization.
- Candida auris can cause a range of infections, including bloodstream infections, wound infections, ear infections, and others.
- Detecting Candida auris can be challenging as it may be misidentified or undetected by standard laboratory methods. Accurate diagnosis relies on specialized laboratory techniques.
- Strict infection control measures, including proper hand hygiene, environmental cleaning, and patient isolation, are crucial in preventing the spread of C. auris in healthcare settings.
Also Read: Top Facts about Candida Albicans
Clinical Symptoms of Candida Auris
Clinical symptoms of Candida auris infection can vary depending on the site of infection, such as:
- Bloodstream infections: Fever, chills, hypotension (low blood pressure), and general signs of sepsis such as rapid heartbeat, confusion, and organ dysfunction.
- Wound infections: Redness, swelling, warmth, and pain at the site of the wound. Pus or discharge may also be present.
- Ear infections: Otomycosis, an infection of the outer ear, can occur with C. auris. Symptoms may include itching, redness, pain, and discharge from the ear.
- Respiratory tract infections: Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fever can occur if C. auris affects the lungs or respiratory system.
Complications of Candida Auris
Candida auris can cause various diseases and infections such as:
- Candidemia: Candidemia is a bloodstream infection caused by Candida species, including Candida auris. It occurs when the fungus enters the bloodstream. Candidemia can be life-threatening, especially in individuals with compromised immune systems.
- Invasive candidiasis: C. auris can cause invasive infections in different organs or body sites, such as the lungs, urinary tract, abdomen, and wounds. These infections can lead to localized symptoms, systemic illness, and, if left untreated, can spread to other organs.
- Wound infections: C. auris can infect surgical wounds, traumatic wounds, or other open skin areas. It can cause redness, swelling, pain, and discharge from the wound.
- Otomycosis: C. auris can infect the external ear canal, leading to otomycosis.
Diagnosis of Candida Auris
Culturing C. auris from the blood or other body fluids is the main method for diagnosis. However, traditional laboratory methods may misidentify C. auris as other Candida species, leading to a delayed or incorrect diagnosis. Therefore, specialized laboratory techniques are required for accurate species identification, such as:
- Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS): This technique can identify the specific Candida species based on their protein profiles.
- Molecular methods: Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or other nucleic acid amplification techniques can detect and identify C. auris DNA or specific genetic markers associated with the species.
Treatment for Candida Auris
The treatment of Candida auris infection can be challenging due to its multidrug resistance. The choice of treatment depends on several factors, including the site of infection, the severity of the infection, and the antifungal susceptibility profile of the specific C. auris isolate. Some common approaches to treating C. auris infection:
- Antifungal medications: In general, echinocandins, such as caspofungin, micafungin, or anidulafungin, are considered the first-line treatment for C. auris infections. These medications are given intravenously and target the cell wall of the fungus.
- Combination therapy: In cases of severe C. auris infection, a combination of antifungal medications may be used. This could involve combining different antifungal agents, such as voriconazole, isavuconazole, or amphotericin B.
- Antifungal susceptibility testing: Performing antifungal susceptibility testing on the C. auris isolate is crucial to guide treatment decisions. This helps determine the most effective antifungal agents to which the specific isolate is susceptible.
Candida Auris: Prevention and Control Measures
Preventing Candida auris infection involves implementing strict infection control measures, particularly in healthcare settings such as:
- Prophylaxis of antifungal: If the individual is at high risk of infection with C. auris such as immunocompromised or patients with invasive medical devices in the hospital should be given an antifungal as a prophylaxis.
- Good disinfection of hospital surfaces – Candida auris tends to remain infectious and grow on hard non-living surfaces for a long time. Thorough and regular cleaning of patient care areas and equipment is essential in reducing the risk of C. auris transmission.
- Good hand hygiene –Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after touching patients, after using the restroom, and before meals. If soap and water are not readily available, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol.
How can MIS help you with testing against Candida Auris?
MIS offers a broad spectrum of antimicrobial testing services to manufacturers of disinfectants, textiles, plastics/coatings globally, and other allied industries.
To validate the efficacy claims of antifungal disinfectant formulations, we perform testing analysis against different fungi such as C. auris, C. albicans, and Aspergillus niger for EN 1650, EN 1657, EN 13624, and many more test methods. Apart from the standard test as per the international guidelines, we offer bespoke services, where we modify the existing test or develop and design a novel test method to suit the requirement of the test product.
Experts at MIS take complete responsibility for the project and provide a comprehensive suite of quality testing services to our clients. To find out more about our microbiology testing services, contact our experts here.