Drug-resistant fungus found in UK hospital

Published 3:17 pm Tuesday, October 31, 2023


The UK Chandler Hospital in Lexington says it has five patients with a fungus, Candida auris, that is resistant to treatment.

Candida auris can make people severely ill, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also “spreads easily” in health care settings like a hospital.

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And “medications that are designed to kill the fungus and stop infections do not work,” the CDC says.

UK’s patients are isolated on the same floor. All have “the fungus on their skin,“ UK said, “but it is not causing an active infection.”

CDC tracking shows there have been 22 clinical cases of Candida auris in Kentucky over the past 12 months. Over the same time period, Nevada had the most cases at 384.

Kentucky had fewer over the last year than most of its neighbors, with the exceptions of West Virginia, Tennessee and Missouri.

Candida auris can infect the bloodstream, open wounds and ears, the CDC reports, and symptoms may mimick a bacterial infection.

The fungus is mainly a threat to people with “severe” preexisting conditions, including having a breathing or feeding tube, among others, according to the CDC. It was discovered in 2009.