Pittsburgh doctor speaks on deadly fungal infections across US

PITTSBURGH — The CDC says Candida auris is a potentially deadly fungal infection that poses a serious global health threat.

RELATED COVERAGE >>> CDC warns of ‘dramatic increase’ in deadly fungal infections across US

Channel 11 talked to infectious disease doctor, Amesh Adalja, who says this fungus doesn’t affect the general population the way COVID or the flu does.

“This type of fungus preys on people with multiple co-morbidities who are chronically ill and that’s why it’s so dangerous,” Dr. Adalja says.

Adalja says Candida auris has been tracked for a number of years and what makes it a threat is the following:

- Candida auris is resistant to multiple anti-fungal drugs

- It is difficult to identify with standard lab methods

- Candida auris has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings

“This is something that plagues people who are debilitated and living in nursing homes or hospitals,” Adalja adds.

There have been 33 cases of this fungus in Pennsylvania in the last 12 months. Currently, there are not any cases in Allegheny County. Adalja says we shouldn’t focus on what states or counties are seeing this fungus because of the spread.

“While there have been cases in PA, PA hasn’t been a hot spot, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be,” Adalja added.

Adalja says infection prevention is key in all healthcare settings.

“We know nursing homes often don’t have the infrastructure to be very good at infection control - we’ve seen COVID-19 wipe out nursing homes. Healthcare facilities have to be proactive about this before it becomes a problem.”

The main symptoms of a Candida auris infection are a fever and chills that don’t go away with an antibiotic.

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