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April 08, 2019

NYT: A Dangerous Drug-Resistant Fungus Is Spreading Through Hospitals and Doctor's Offices and It's Just About Impossible to Get Rid Of

And here's the thing: The medical community is playing that game where they weight the public's need/right to know against the need of "maintaining confidence" in the system, and that means, as it did in the ebola case, that they've decided to keep largely quiet about this.

This is scary stuff. We've been hearing for a while that drug-resistant bacteria are coming.

Here's a drug-resistant fungus.

And hospitals are keeping infestations of the fungus a state secret.

The germ, a fungus called Candida auris, preys on people with weakened immune systems, and it is quietly spreading across the globe. Over the last five years, it has hit a neonatal unit in Venezuela, swept through a hospital in Spain, forced a prestigious British medical center to shut down its intensive care unit, and taken root in India, Pakistan and South Africa.

Recently C. auris reached New York, New Jersey and Illinois, leading the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add it to a list of germs deemed "urgent threats."

The man at Mount Sinai died after 90 days in the hospital, but C. auris did not. Tests showed it was everywhere in his room, so invasive that the hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it.

"Everything was positive -- the walls, the bed, the doors, the curtains, the phones, the sink, the whiteboard, the poles, the pump," said Dr. Scott Lorin, the hospital's president. "The mattress, the bed rails, the canister holes, the window shades, the ceiling, everything in the room was positive."

C. auris is so tenacious, in part, because it is impervious to major antifungal medications, making it a new example of one of the world's most intractable health threats: the rise of drug-resistant infections.

...

Simply put, fungi, just like bacteria, are evolving defenses to survive modern medicines.

...

With bacteria and fungi alike, hospitals and local governments are reluctant to disclose outbreaks for fear of being seen as infection hubs. Even the C.D.C., under its agreement with states, is not allowed to make public the location or name of hospitals involved in outbreaks. State governments have in many cases declined to publicly share information beyond acknowledging that they have had cases.



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posted by Ace of Spades at 06:12 PM

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