The threats health care facilities face are evolving, so infection prevention protocols need to evolve with them. Take for example Candida auris, an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast that can enter the bloodstream and cause invasive health care-associated infections with high mortality.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first identified C. auris in U.S. hospitals in fall 2016. Why should health care facilities be concerned about C. auris infections? According to the CDC, the main reasons are:
- It is often multidrug-resistant, which can make infections caused by this emerging fungal species much more difficult to treat.
- It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and misidentification can result in inappropriate treatment.
- It has caused outbreaks in health care settings.
This makes rapid detection of C. auris particularly important so that hospitals can take special precautions to stop its spread.
In addition to spreading from person to person, C. auris can survive on surfaces found throughout the health care environment, and spread via contact with contaminated surfaces like bedrails and chairs as well as catheters and other equipment. To help contain the threat, the CDC recommends that in acute care settings like hospitals, health care providers place patients colonized or infected with C. auris in single rooms on standard and contact precautions. Because of its environmental persistence, cleaning and disinfecting are important elements of C. auris infection prevention and control.
Recently, the CDC revised its earlier recommendation for C. auris infection control measures to include thorough daily and post-discharge cleaning of rooms of patients with C. auris using EPA-registered hospital disinfectants effective against Clostridium difficile. The previous recommendation was to use a hospital disinfectant effective against fungi.
Lori Strazdas, MPH, is a public health liaison at Clorox Healthcare. She can be reached at Lori.Strazdas@clorox.com.