If you're unfamiliar with Candida auris (C. auris), now is the time to familiarize yourself with this potentially deadly fungus. That's because it's becoming a growing threat in many nursing homes and could affect your loved one.
It's a highly-contagious and drug-resistant pathogen, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since entering the United States more than four years ago, it has infected approximately 769 patients in hospitals and nursing homes across the United States.
C. auris spreading at an alarming rate
One case of C. auris was reported in Georgia. Approximately 375 were reported in New York, 209 in Illinois, 131 in New Jersey, and 24 in Florida. All remaining states have either had no reported cases or had less than 10.
It infects patients by first entering the bloodstream through an opening in the skin. It then rapidly spreads throughout the body — resulting in serious illness or death. Symptoms may not be noticeable among patients who are already being treated for another illness.
According to the New York Times, roughly half of patients and residents infected with C. auris in the US have died within 90 days. Due to the nature of this fungus, many healthcare facilities will not treat patients infected with it.
One particular nursing home under scrutiny is Palm Gardens Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Brooklyn, NY — which has already had 38 cases as the facility struggles to contain the fungus.
Risk factors in C. auris infections
In addition, the New York State Department of Health has investigated several other hospitals and nursing homes and found something shocking. Many facilities:
- Didn't use disposable gowns or latex gloves
- Didn't post warning signs outside of rooms where infected patients lived
- Some didn't have adequate hand sanitizers
Upon further investigation into C. auris, public health officials have attributed the spread of the fungus to poor facility hygiene and the overuse of antibiotics. This has allowed the fungus to thrive in many facilities and spread from one person to the next.
The spread of C. auris, however, is a part of a larger problem in nursing homes — the colonization of drug-resistant pathogens, including dangerous bacteria and viruses. According to recent research, this is happening at an astronomical rate. Many nursing home staff members and residents may be unaware that they are carrying and spreading the fungus.
That's why it's important that those who manage and work in nursing homes ensure that facilities are kept clean and well-maintained. The spread of C. auris is yet another horror story we hear about in nursing homes, making it difficult to trust that these facilities will ensure our loved ones are safe and properly cared for.
If you're loved one became severely ill due to an infection he or she contracted at a nursing home, it may be the result of neglect. Attorney George S. Johnson represents the families of nursing home residents who have been harmed due to abuse or neglect. For more than 15 years, he has investigated negligent nursing home management and staff and has fought to hold them accountable.
To find out how he can help you and your family, contact The Law Office of George S. Johnson, LLC today and schedule your free case evaluation.