Emerging Candida strain posing risk to in-patients in European healthcare facilities

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is warning that there is a need to raise awareness in European healthcare facilities about Candida auris, in the interest of patient safety.

C. auris is a newly emerging yeast that was first described in 2009 and has subsequently been associated with invasive infections and outbreaks in healthcare settings worldwide, including hospitals in the UK and Spain.

In a Rapid Risk Assessment, the ECDC warned that C. auris can cause invasive infections in severely compromised patients. It said most isolates are resistant to fluconazole. Resistance to other antifungal agents has been reported, and multidrug-resistant C. auris isolates with resistance to all three main classes of antifungals, have been described.

“Unlike other Candida species, C. auris seems to have a high propensity for patient-to-patient transmission in healthcare settings,” it added. 

The ECDC said difficulties with laboratory identification and lack of awareness of this new Candida species might result in transmission and outbreaks going unnoticed. For these reasons, it said it is important to raise awareness of the yeast so that healthcare facilities can adapt their laboratory testing strategies and implement enhanced control measures early enough to prevent further hospital outbreaks.