If the height of the pandemic a few years ago used to make you fear heading to the hospital when in need of urgent medical aid, then the latest reports, like this article published by CBS News, regarding a drug-resistant fungal infection caused by Candida auris plaguing hospitals and nursing homes are unlikely to help alleviate your concerns.
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What Do You Need To Know About the Fungus Outbreak Happening in U.S. Hospitals?
The fungus wreaking havoc in medical centers across the United States is the Candida auris one, and it has Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials concerned, per a report they published on March 20.
In that report, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the CDC highlighted how they became aware of the presence of the Candida auris fungus in our country in 2016 when there were only a handful of cases. By 2021, cases had apparently increased by 95% from the 2020 rate to 1,471 in 2021. That same report also shows how infection rates among patients are now twice what they were in 2021. As of press time, all but 18 states had reported cases where patients had been diagnosed with Candida auris.
What Is Candida Auris?
This fungus is a type of yeast. Generally, it wouldn’t adversely impact a person’s health if they came into contact with it; however, individuals with a compromised immune system, such as those hospitalized, are particularly susceptible to it.
Why Is the Rise of This Fungal Infection So Concerning?
If you’re wondering what’s got CDC epidemiologists so concerned about this Candida auris outbreak, it has to do with the fact that this fungus doesn’t seem to respond well to antifungal drugs. It’s what scientists refer to as drug-resistant. Even worse is that individuals fortunate enough to survive exposure to Candida auris often find that the fungus colonizes, or accumulates, in their bodies for years afterward—leaving them constantly at risk for experiencing invasive symptoms they initially had to deal with at the onset.
What Can Hospitals and Nursing Homes Do To Curb the Spread of the Fungus Candida Auris?
CDC officials have issued recommendations to hospitals and nursing homes aimed at reducing the spread of the fungus from one patient or resident to the next, including:
- Screening nursing home residents and hospital patients that are potentially infected to see if they indeed are
- Isolating infected individuals from the remaining non-infected population
Of course, a good solution for infection control is always maintaining clean facilities and personal hygiene too—something that may be lacking if there’s understaffing, poorly trained employees, workers that aren’t adequately supervised, appropriate cleaning supplies that aren’t provided and utilized, or other preventable cleanliness or staffing issues.
If you have the misfortune of having become infected with this potentially deadly fungus and your health has deteriorated, or someone close to you died as a result, you may have some legal recourses to pursue. Regardless of whether the infection was contracted at a hospital or in a Chicago nursing home, our attorneys may be able to help.