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Infectious Diseases: Candida auris

Infectious diseases Candida auris banner image

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes Candida auris as “an emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat.” The fungus can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. Infections can be both serious and difficult to treat since the fungus often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs.

Who gets it?

While C. auris can occur in people of all ages, it’s generally more common in those hospitalized in a healthcare facility for an extended period or who have a central venous catheter or other lines or tubes entering their body. Other at-risk populations include individuals who have recently had surgery, have diabetes or have a history of broad-spectrum antibiotic and antifungal use.

How is it transmitted?

Transmission typically occurs in healthcare settings, such as hospitals or long-term care facilities, through contact with contaminated environmental surfaces or equipment or from person to person.

How prevalent is it?

The CDC has developed a map that details where in the United States cases have occurred. A map detailing its prevalence across the globe is also available.

How can my staff and I tell if a patient has it?

In all likelihood, you can’t diagnosis C. auris infection just by looking at a patient, since specialized laboratory methods are needed to accurately identify it.

What should we do if a patient has it?

While it’s unlikely that you or your staff will encounter a patient or will be diagnosed with C. auris in the typical dental practice, if you do encounter someone with the condition, the patient should see a physician who, once the condition is confirmed, should notify the state or local public health authorities and CDC at candidaauris@cdc.gov.

How can I prevent transmission in my practice?

Continuing to follow standard universal precautions remains the best method of reducing the chance of transmitting the fungus to other patients.

Resources

From the ADA:

From the CDC:

For more information, please contact the Center for Dental Practice at dentalpractice@ada.org or 312-440-2895.

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