Drug-resistant fungus Candida auris causing some concern at NJ health facilities

Candida auris can be transmitted either from health care workers, other patients or even surfaces of objects and equipment that are contaminated.

Matt Trapani and Eliecer Marte

Apr 8, 2023, 2:30 AM

Updated 469 days ago

Share:

A drug-resistant fungus that can quickly lead to outbreaks in health care facilities and nursing homes is causing some concern in New Jersey.
The first American cases were reported in 2016. But now cases of the fungus Candida auris are now climbing at an "alarming" rate across the country, according to health care officials. The state of New Jersey is no exception.
“This fungus seems to be affecting elderly and immune-suppressed people, mainly in health care centers, at a rate that is growing,” says Dr. Darin Wiesner, of Rutgers University.
Candida auris can be transmitted either from health care workers, other patients or even surfaces of objects and equipment that are contaminated.
The New Jersey Department of Health has confirmed 380 cases as of November 2022. There are an additional 789 surveillance cases. Surveillance cases are patients carrying the infection, even if it is not making them sick.
“Even then, really it only causes problems when it enters the bloodstream. So it has to penetrate the area,” Wiesner says.
The infection can’t be diagnosed based only on symptoms. Wiesner says that this is the biggest challenge.
“With Candida auris, it is entirely resistant to one of our front-line antifungals…and it seems to be evolving resistance to our last two remaining classes of drugs,” Wiesner says.
Wiesner says that there are some options to treat the infection.
“Echinocandins seem to be effective but there is evidence that the fungus is resistant to that. Right now, the way that’s dealt is just given higher doses,” he says.
Wiesner says that the main problem with higher doses of echinocandins is unwanted side effects such as rash, itching or fever.


More from News 12