Candida auris infection

Definition

Candida auris (C auris) is a type of yeast (fungus). It can cause a severe infection in hospital or nursing home patients. These patients are often already very sick.

C auris infections often do not get better with the antifungal medicines that usually treat candida infections. When this occurs, the fungus is said to be resistant to antifungal medicines. This makes it very hard to treat the infection.

C auris infection is rare in healthy people.

Causes

Some patients people carry C auris on their bodies without it making them sick. This is called "colonization." This means they can easily spread the germ without knowing it. However, people who are colonized with C auris are still at risk for getting an infection from the fungus.

C auris can be spread from person-to-person or from contact with objects or equipment. Hospital or long-term nursing home patients can be colonized with C auris. They can spread it to objects in the facility, such as bedside tables and hand rails. Health care providers and visiting family and friends who have contact with a patient with C auris can spread it to other patients.

Once C auris enters the body, it can cause a severe infection of the bloodstream and organs. This is more likely to occur in people with a weakened immune system. People who have breathing or feeding tubes or IV catheters are at the highest risk of infection.

Other risk factors for C auris infection include:

C auris infections have occurred in people of all ages.

Symptoms

C auris infections can be hard to identity for the following reasons:

High fever with chills that does not get better after taking antibiotics may be a sign of a C auris infection. Tell your provider right away if you or a loved one has an infection that is not getting better, even after treatment.

Exams and Tests

A C auris infection can't be diagnosed using standard methods. If your provider thinks your illness is caused by C auris, they will need to use special lab tests.

Blood tests include:

Your provider also may suggest testing if they suspect you have been colonized with C auris, or if you have tested positive for C auris before.

Treatment

C auris infections are often treated with antifungal medicines called echinocandins. Other types of antifungal medicines also may be used.

Some C auris infections do not respond to any of the main classes of antifungal medicines. In such cases, more than one antifungal drug or higher doses of these drugs may be used.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Infections with C auris can be hard to treat because of its resistance to antifungal medicines. How well a person does will depend on:

Possible Complications

C auris infections that spread to the bloodstream and organs in very ill people can often lead to death.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your provider if:

Prevention

Follow these steps to prevent the spread of C auris:

Contact your provider right away if you suspect that you or someone you know has this infection.


Review Date: 5/11/2019
Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

This information should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. © 1997- 2007 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.