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Deaths of eight patients in UK hospitals linked to Japanese super fungus

Deadly Japanese super fungus which is resistant to drugs is linked to deaths of EIGHT patients in UK hospitals

  • Candida auris super fungus has been found in 25 hospitals across the UK
  • It has been linked to the deaths of eight patients, while around 50 survived and 200 had ‘skin colonised’
  • Patients were already ‘seriously ill’ so fungus wasn’t recorded as cause of death

Eight patients in UK hospitals have died after being infected with a deadly Japanese super fungus.

Candida auris, which can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious infections,  has been found in 25 hospitals. 

Around 50 patients survived and 200 more patients had ‘skin ‘colonised’ by the fungus, before it entered their bodies via wounds.

Candida auris, which can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious infections, has been found in 25 hospitals 

Public Health England (PHE) said the fungus, which was first identified in 2009, hasn’t been recorded as the cause of the victim’s death as the patients were already ‘seriously ill’. 

A spokesman told The Sun: ‘What seems to make Candida auris somewhat unique is that it spreads so easily from person to person.

‘Once in the bloodstream, it circulates and multiplies, causing sepsis [blood poisoning].

‘Yeast cells can also deposit in organs [liver, spleen, brain] causing abscesses, or forming vegetations on heart valves.’

Public Health England announced earlier this month that it is looking to update its guidance on C. auris amid fears it is ‘spreading like wildfire’. 

The agency first published guidelines for dealing with the fungus in 2017, including telling doctors to isolate infected patients and ramp up hygiene measures. 

A large outbreak in Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust’s Royal Brompton Hospital in west London involved 72 patients between April 2015 and November 2016 and caused the hospital to shut its intensive care unit for 11 days.   

As of July 2017, no-one has died directly from C. auris infection in the UK, according to PHE.

What is Candida auris? 

Candida auris (C auris) is a harmful form of yeast, identified by the CDC as a ‘superbug’ fungus.

It tends to be diagnosed in patients after they’ve been in hospitals for several weeks. 

The fungus can infect wounds, ears and the bloodstream and take root in the urinary tract. 

The source of the infection for C auris isn’t the person who got sick but rather the hospital environment, including catheters, counters, and other surfaces.

It was first identified in Japan in 2009 and has since spread to more than a dozen countries worldwide.

Two of the three kinds of commonly used antifungal drugs have had little effect in treatment.

About 60 percent of those who’ve been infected with C auris have died.


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