A scary fungal virus that you've probably never heard of is quickly spreading around the country, and it has made its way into Michigan. The scariest part about this virus? It's resistant to drugs, which can make treatment very difficult.

Bad news.

Map of c. auris in Michigan
Map of c. auris in Michigan as of February 2024 / from Michigan Department of Health & Human Services
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Candida auris (C. auris)

The CDC's exact description of the virus is as follows:

Candida auris (C. auris) is a type of yeast that can cause severe illness and spreads easily among patients in healthcare facilities. It is often resistant to antifungal treatments, which means that the medications that are designed to kill the fungus and stop infections do not work.

 

According to the New York State Department of Health, Candida auris is primarily found in hospitals and primarily affects those who require long-term care, like on ventilators or catheters. The virus can stick around on surfaces for extended periods, which leads to the virus being spread around the healthcare facility and its patients. It was first reported in the US in 2016.

Strain of c. auris
A strain of c. auris, courtesy of the New York State Department of Health
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What Makes Candida Auris So Hard to Treat

C. auris has been branded an "urgent threat" due to being resistant to antifungal treatments. Infections are typically treated using antifungal medicines, of which there are three main groups. This virus is known for being resistant to multiple, if not all three groups, causing the virus to be very difficult to treat. It has a high mortality rate, however recently the count of deaths related to this virus has stalled due to an inability to discern how impactful the virus is in causing death in comparison to a patient's underlying condition.

While it is frightening to read that, there is good news in the midst of this. A study found that the disease, while very transmissible, does not usually infect healthy people, including healthcare workers. In most cases, patients who find themselves infected with the virus usually have an underlying condition that has weakened their immune system.

gorodenkoff
gorodenkoff
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How To Prevent C. auris

Preventing C. auris is far easier than treating it. Cleaning surfaces with alcohol wipes and washing one's hands with alcohol-based hand sanitizer is known to kill the virus. The use of PPE among medical staff is also paramount.

Below is a video created by the CDC that includes information about the virus, as well as ways to prevent it.

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