UK finds drug-resistant fungus on 5 patients on 1 floor of hospital

by Kentucky Health News

A sneaky, infectious, drug-resistant fungus called Candida auris has been found on five patients on one floor at the Albert B. Chandler Hospital at the University of Kentucky, UK announced Tuesday.

“All cases have the fungus on their skin, but it is not causing an active infection and there are no active infections with Candida auris at UK HealthCare,” the university said. “Our team quickly identified the pathogen and began isolation and disinfection precautions to prevent further transmission.”

Citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UK noted that people “can carry Candida auris on their skin and may not have any symptoms. Often those who get it are already admitted to a health-care facility with another serious illness or condition and may have risk factors such as mechanical ventilation, tracheostomy, invasive medical devices and frequent health care encounters.”

The fungus is a yeast that can cause infections in the blood, wounds, the respiratory tract and the urinary tract. It is most likely to infect people who are already sick, but “can be resistant to multiple antimicrobials and is responsible for outbreaks in health-care facilities across the globe,” UK noted, concluding:

“As an academic medical center, UK HealthCare is steadfast in the surveillance and identification of infections and the implementation of interventional and prevention strategies to contain and help prevent reoccurrence and transmission of diseases and has a dedicated infection prevention and control team that monitors infections and the possibility of outbreaks that could become a threat to public health.”

For a CDC fact sheet on C. aurisclick here.

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

Photo: C. auris develops on the skin. (helivideo/iStock photo)