Mysterious Fungus Superbug Has Nevada On Watch

Six months after Nevada’s congressional delegation urged a more robust plan to combat the drug-resistant “superbug” Candida auris, the southern part of the state is grappling with a surge in cases, reaching record levels. In October, the region reported 57 new clinical cases of the potentially lethal fungus, along with 123 cases of colonization, where individuals carry the fungus without displaying symptoms. The total number of cases since August 2021 has climbed to nearly 2,300 across 42 healthcare facilities, with 904 clinical cases and 1,369 colonizations.

Data indicates an increase in screening efforts, although the rise in colonization cases, detected through symptomless screening, is a cause for concern. Last year, Southern Nevada experienced the worst outbreaks of C. auris in the U.S., and in 2022, Nevada reported 384 of the country’s 2,377 clinical cases.

Despite the delegation’s call to action, no formal plan has been developed. The CDC provided on-site training and infection control assessments in August, and the state received funding, including $520,000 in base funding in fiscal year 2022 and almost $6.8 million from the American Rescue Plan Act for prevention and detection measures.

Screening for high-risk patients remains voluntary, leading to variations in screening levels among facilities. Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, the largest acute-care facility in the state, reported the highest number of cases, attributing it to active screening efforts. While experts acknowledge the difficulty of eradicating the fungus, they emphasize the need to control and mitigate risks for vulnerable populations.

Candida auris poses a significant threat, with over one in three people developing an invasive infection succumbing to it. The fungus’s increasing resistance to antifungal medications underscores the urgency of effective screening and prevention measures. Determining the number of deaths directly attributable to C. auris is challenging, as deaths may be linked to pre-existing conditions, and there is no national case definition for such fatalities.

Las Vegas Review 


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