A KILLER fungal infection that’s immune to drugs is said to be sweeping the globe, experts have warned.
The newly-discovered germ, called Candida auris, can remain on people’s skin and objects, such as furniture and equipment in hospitals, for a long time.
These are the regions where the Candida auris infection is reported to have struck in the last five years
It means it can be spread indirectly between patients and leave those with weak immune systems, including the sick, elderly and babies, more vulnerable.
Most worryingly of all is that C.auris can be resistant to the three major classes of anti-fungal drugs – leaving doctors with few treatment options.
Over the last five years it has struck medical centres around the world, including a neonatal unit in Venzeuala and a hospital in Spain.
It reached the UK in 2015, with the intensive care unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London being forced to close for 11 days after an outbreak.’Kept quiet’
Dr Johanna Rhodes, an infectious disease expert at Imperial College London, said she got a panicked call from the hospital saying they couldn’t get rid of the fungus.
She told the New York Times that she was told: “We have no idea where it’s coming from. We’ve never heard of it. It’s just spread like wildfire.”
Under her direction, workers sprayed a special chemical around the room used for a patient with C.auris and left for a week.
We have no idea where it’s coming from. We’ve never heard of it. It’s just spread like wildfireDr Johanna Rhodestold by Royal Brompton Hospital
They put a plate with gel in the bottom in the middle of the room and the only organism that grew back was C.auris.
But the newspaper reports that its spread was initially kept quiet.
The speciality lung and heart hospital alerted the British government and told infected patients, but made no public announcement.
Oliver Wilkinson, a spokesman for Royal Brompton, said: “There was no need to put a news release during the outbreak”.
What is Candida auris?
Candia auris is a fungus that, when it gets into the bloodstream, can cause dangerous infections that can be life-threatening.
People with weak immune systems, especially those who are already sick, the elderly and newborns.
It was first identified in a patient in Japan in 2009.
C.auris can be resitent to the major anitfungal drugs, meaning it could be fatal in some cases.
The most recent Public Health England figures show that more than 200 patients across 20 separate NHS Trusts in Britain have been infected with C.auris.
Dr Colin Brown, Consultant Medical Microbiologist for Public Health England’s national infection service, said: “Candida auris is an uncommon fungus in the UK and our enhanced surveillance shows a low risk to patients in healthcare settings.
“Most cases detected have not shown symptoms or developed an infection as a result of the fungus.
“PHE is working closely with the NHS to provide expert support and advice on infection control measures to limit the spread of Candida auris.
“NHS hospitals that have experienced outbreaks of Candida auris have not found it to be the cause of death in any patients.”
ExclusiveCOSTLY COMPO NHS pays £20m in a year to sick patients discharged too early from hospital ExclusiveKIDS HEARING MIRACLE Deaf children will hear after NHS announce plans to fund implants GRAINE OF HOPE The best tests, tablets and tea to help reduce migraine symptoms ‘HELP US’ Five-month twins may never come home because they’re too weak for life-saving op PAW-SITIVE IMPACT Dog owners are ‘four times more likely to be fit than other people’ TUBBY TEST Gene test costing JUST £38 ‘accurately predicts the risk of getting fat’ FAILURE TO LUNCH How skipping breaks at work can lead to bad posture and sleepless nights KILLER RASHER Pack of bacon a week increases risk of bowel cancer by a fifth, study claims ExclusiveWEIGHT BATTLE WIN Anorexic teen ‘too bony to sit down’ one year ago shows transformation STATS DON’T WORK Half of patients on statins don’t have healthy cholesterol after two years RevealedDON’T BE A SILLY PILLY How to save cash on ‘pointless’ supplements — & what you should take Exclusiveunhappy campers Family of 5 crammed into camper van after being kicked out of rented home
In the US there has been 587 reported cases, mostly in New York, New Jersey and Illinois, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added C.auris to its list of “urgent threats”.
A study published last year in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases found 45 per cent of patients died within 90 days of being diagnosed with the infection.
Nearly all of the samples from the 51 patients in facilities in New York City were resistant to fluconazole, a commonly used anti-fungal drug.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368 . You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.