The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 13 cases of superbugs in USA. Four of the first seven patients with the superbugs have died. This is the first time that the fungus has been discovered in the United States.
The report comes five months after physicians and hospitals were warned about Candida auris, a fatal antibiotic-resistant fungus. It is easy to misidentify C. auris with a more common yeast infection. The first time the fungus was identified in Japan seven years back. At least a dozen countries have been affected by it since then. It has been found in four continents so far.
The superbugs are resistant to most antibiotics. In some cases, no antibiotic is capable of resisting it. Five cases have been reported in 2016. The CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report says seven patients have been diagnosed with the superbug since 2013. All of them were hospitalized for serious conditions like respiratory failure and even cancer. However, it is not yet clear if C. auris is responsible for the death of four of them.
Five of the first seven cases were resistant to fluconazole, a common antifungal drug. One of them was resistant to echinocandins and another to amphotericin B, which is used for serious infections. Echinocandins is a new antifungal which is believed to be highly effective against Candida. Six more cases about superbugs in USA have been reported since August this year.
"We need to act now to better understand, contain and stop the spread of this drug-resistant fungus," Fox News quoted the CDC's Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "This is an emerging threat, and we need to protect vulnerable patients and others."
Other countries found C. auris strains to be resistant to three major antifungal drugs. But, this is the first time such thing has happened in the United States. US officials were on high alert to prevent the import of C. auris. But, it is believed that all the cases in the country are domestically contracted.
C. auris infections are generally diagnosed by fungal culture of blood or other body fluids, according to the CDC. But, it is much more difficult to identify than other common Candida infections. It is often confused with Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida haemulonii.