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CDC Warns of New Fungus Infection That Struck 2 in N.J.

Saturday, November 5, 2016 3:34
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Federal officials are warning doctors nationwide about a new fungal infection that is potentially fatal – and resistance to most antibiotics. Two of the seven cases reported so far involved New Jersey patients who were treated at the same unidentified New Jersey hospital, said the health care alert issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of those New Jersey patients died in July of 2015. The patient was being treated for a brain tumor, so that death couldn’t necessarily be blamed on the fungus, called Candida auris, the CDC said.

The newly emerging fungus has been detected in the United Kingdom, India, Kuwait, Venezuela, Israel, and elsewhere. In response, the CDC issued an alert asking laboratories that had encountered the fungus to inform them if it had been detected. It announced Friday that seven cases in four states had been documented.

All seven patients had serious underlying health conditions. Cases were reported from New York, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey.

One was a patient whose infection was identified in Maryland but was a resident of New Jersey who had been hospitalized here. The second case was a New Jersey resident treated at the same hospital. Their stays overlapped, said the CDC report.

In addition, whole-genome sequencing of samples from the two N.J. cases showed the strain of fungus to be very closely related. They were also related to the version reported in South Asia, while two cases in Illinois were related to variation seen in South America.

However, none of those patients had traveled to those regions or had any other direct links to South Asia or South America, the CDC warning said.

The fungus is worrisome for several reasons:

  • It is often misidentified as other yeast infections.
  • It is challenging to identify, requiring specialized laboratory processes.
  • It is apparently responsible for outbreaks in health care facilities.
  • Several variations of it are resistant to all three major classes of anti-fungal medications.



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