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Candida auris is a rare type of fungus that is becoming more common.
Candida auris, or “C. auris”, is a type of fungus. Scientists discovered C. auris in 2009. It is rare, but present in the United States, and there have been confirmed cases of C. auris in Maryland residents. The medical and public health communities are concerned that C. auris infections are becoming more common.
It is possible to spread C. auris by either person-to-person contact (including from people without symptoms), or from contact with a contaminated object. C. auris can potentially survive on surfaces for several weeks.
C. auris can cause many different types of infections, including bloodstream, wound and ear infections. On the other hand, C. auris can sometimes live on people’s skin or in their urine without causing any symptoms.
Candida auris infections are more likely to occur in people who have weakened immune systems, such as in people who have blood cancers or diabetes. People who have certain medical devices — including breathing tubes, feeding tubes, intravenous catheters, or bladder catheters — are also at higher risk for developing C. auris infections. Most C. auris infection outbreaks have occurred among patients who already have serious illnesses and are in hospitals and nursing homes.
Scientists typically diagnose fungal infections by trying to grow the fungus from a person’s blood or other body fluids in a laboratory. However, C. auris can be particularly difficult to identify and can be mistaken for other types of fungus. Special tests are sometimes needed to make a clear diagnosis.
Many medications that medical providers typically use to treat fungal infections are ineffective in treating C. auris infections. In some cases, multiple antifungal medications at high doses might be needed to treat the infection.
Thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching any person known to have Candida auris. Good hand hygiene is always important, especially for those who have contact with people with serious illnesses, and in health care facilities. Be sure to remind health care workers to also clean their hands and equipment.
If you are concerned you or a family member have a fungal infection, talk to your healthcare provider.
For more information on Candida auris, visit the Centers for Disease Control website: https://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/candidiasis/candida-auris.html
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