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They warn about fungus "super-resistant" to medicine
The scientific medical community has recently warned about the sighting of a fungus resistant to antifungal treatment. Without a doubt, it is an announcement that should be taken as a priority.
The incident occurred inside a hospital located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. It transpired that two patients were infected with a yeast of rare origin with broad resistance to therapy.
What is known about the fungus "super resistant" to medical treatment?
The appearance of fungi resistant to antifungal drug therapy is not something new. In fact, the first cases or studies date back more than a decade ago, in 2009.
However, the detection of the strain in Louisiana marks the first documented case in both patients. Fortunately, both are under strict medical surveillance at a high-end hospital in New Orleans.
Previously, other states in the North American country such as Georgia, Florida, Texas and Washington had suffered the consequences of this microorganism. Even its extension and distribution was identified in up to 20 other federal entities.
It is a relatively new class of potentially harmful yeast. More than 10 years ago, it was baptized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as Candida Auris. At the same time, he also declared it as an "emerging global threat" and latent.
Candida Auris: why is it a potentially global threat?
Candida Auris is the preferred name for a fungus belonging to the yeast species. Like all Candida, it is a benefactor of a common infection known as candidiasis in humans.
From its isolation and exhaustive study, it was concluded that the type of pathology caused by this aberrant entity is potentially fatal. Evidence has shown that it can quickly develop into an invasive yeast infection and pass into the bloodstream.
The rapid and accurate spread of the fungus through the circulatory system produces a scenario known as fungemia. Next is its predilection for infecting and attacking the central nervous system, as well as other internal organs secondarily.
As if that were not enough, it is one of the few mushrooms with the nickname "super resistant". It relies on its ability to circumvent the mechanism of action of the most powerful antimycotic (antifungal) therapies. It means that the drugs commonly used against Candida do not work.
Among other conclusions, it is emphasized that it is a common pathogen in the nosocomial or hospital environment. The longer the stay in a medical center, the higher the risk of acquisition. Something similar as in what happens in relation to pneumonia.
A fungus with enigmatic, unpredictable and erratic qualities
Its staging occurred in 2009 after a 70-year-old Japanese woman consulted for an ear problem. Following culture of the secretion, it was found to be a never-before-studied strain of yeast.
From then on, the fungus described an erratic behavior, expanding mainly to South Korea and much of Asia. In a matter of a short time, a variety of cases were also announced in European territory.
By 2022, the United States appears to be targeted by the pathogen in every way. The CDC has already warned of an ongoing epidemic after learning of 130 cases in Florida and more than 30 in Texas. For their part, they suggest that it is possible that the fungus existed long before in Louisiana.
From a practical point of view, the CDC itself promulgated an informative guide about Candida Auris. With it, they seek to create awareness about the subsequent infection, as well as equalize precise guidelines in the main hospital centers. The most relevant excerpts say:
Difficulty in your treatment
It's not dubbed a "super-resistant" fungus for nothing. The CDC is supported by studies reporting up to 90% resistance to fluconazole, one of the first-line drugs.
Second place is occupied by voriconazole with more than 70% of inefficacy for the control of the disease. Basically, the daily use of thiazoles is ruled out when it comes to fighting the infection.
Even so, it should be noted that not everything is a dark horizon. Double-blind trials confirmed the truth and efficacy of echinocandins, a new and improved class of antifungals. In appropriate doses, it is more than likely to counteract the adverse effects generated by the pathogen.
Fast-evolving infection with deadly qualities
If infected by the fungus, the prognosis is guarded and uncertain. In its most serious presentations, it can cause catastrophic fungemia for internal organs.
The statistics implemented in the CDC study suggest that 1 in 3 patients dies from Auris. A fact more than exorbitant and alarming that every day is being more ignored.
Risk in hospitalized and immunosuppressed patients
The favorable replication environment for Auris is nosocomial centers. The interior of hospitals is, paradoxically, an ideal area for the cultivation and evolution of a variety of germs.
Those patients with hospital days are prime targets for yeast. The picture worsens when there is therapeutic use of probes of some kind or central venous catheterization.
In the field of convalescents due to immunosuppression (cancer, HIV, recurrent infections), the fungus is practically fatal. With no adequate immune response as a first defense, and no effective treatment, medical hands are tied.
The little prevention of the fungus built the pathways for its rapid spread around the world. First-tier countries such as Japan, China, the United States, among others, are already suffering collateral damage from it.
The CDC mentions that its identification is out of practice, resulting in failure. Laboratories tend to confuse Auris with other types of Candida, resulting in implausible diagnoses and treatments.
So, we are not only talking about a fungus that is multi-resistant to medicine, but also knows how to camouflage itself. There is no doubt that the scientific community will have to unify criteria to resort to more drastic measures.
The few prevention methodologies for the fungus translate into a high frequency of infections. A clear example of this is Louisiana, a state that was acquitted in the history related to Auris.
Now with the hypothesis that the two cases detected are not the only ones, it lends itself to an atmosphere of uncertainty. In another order of ideas, it is a significant setback that can disturb the focus of attention on those infected by COVID-19.
Count of cases to date in the United States
The CDC is the agency that has spearheaded the disclosure of information on this latent biohazard. Because of this, they keep a record and count of well-identified cases.
Added to them are the two new isolates at the University Medical Center in New Orleans. Regarding the premise, Dr. Niray Patel offered statements to the media in his role as director.
"The fungus could take longer than we think in Louisiana. Fortunately, the patients are stable, but we must be alert. In Florida, more than 100 cases have already been reported, and in Texas there are 30."
The latest CDC report raised more than 1,000 cases spread across the United States. Metropolises like New York, New Jersey, Illinois or California shone like the highest peaks.
The appearance of this peculiar outbreak draws humanity's attention to the danger of drug resistance. It is not only something tangible and that has been preached in the bacterial field, but currently also in fungi.