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The new superbug yeast that acts like bacteria

At the Law Office of JoJene E. Mills, PC, in Arizona, we help people who suffer the ill effects of medical malpractice. We therefore thought we should warn you about a new superbug that is spreading around the world. As Wired.com reports, Candida auris is a superbug yeast that first appeared on epidemiologists’ radar in 2009 when a 70-year-old Tokyo hospital patient developed a stubborn ear infection that turned out to be a new type of yeast infection. At about the same time, two South Korean patients ultimately died when the new yeast invaded their bloodstreams.

Since then, various strains of Candida auris have spread around the world. Today it appears not only in Brazil, India, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, South Africa, South Korea and Spain, but 11 U.S. states have recorded a combined 340 cases of it. This new superbug is unlike anything epidemiologists have ever seen before. Yeasts normally establish themselves in the warm, damp spaces of your body, lying dormant until a triggering event causes them to surge forth. Yeasts likewise only infect you if you carry them. They do not infect the people with whom you come into contact.

Virus with bacteria behavior

C. auris, on the other hand, seems to think it is a bacterium. It survives on both your cool external skin and on the cold inorganic surfaces found in hospitals, nursing homes and other places where ill people receive care and treatment. It lives on virtually all surfaces, including the following:

  • Health care workers’ hands
  • Doorknobs
  • Counters
  • Medical equipment and instruments
  • Computer keys

With its ability to quickly spread from one person to another and its resistance to all known drugs, C. auris produces widespread outbreaks that can last for months. Even more frightening, depending in which country its victims live and which parts of their bodies it invades, up to 60 percent of them die.

Preventive measures

Hospitals and other health care facilities consequently face a never-ending battle to contain this superbug since eradication is virtually impossible. Good old-fashioned cleanliness and hygiene seem to work best, such as the following:

  • Wearing gloves and masks when caring for infected patients
  • Isolating these patients from others in the facility
  • Swabbing any health care worker, other patient or visitor who comes into contact with the infected patient or his or her room
  • Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the patient’s room each day, as well as any equipment used in it
  • ”Bombing” the patient’s room with hydrogen peroxide vapor once (s)he moves out of it

For more information, please visit this page on our website. 

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