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Candida auris fungus outbreak causes 4 deaths in Collin County healthcare facilities

·2 min read

Two healthcare facilities in Collin County recently have had cases of drug-resistant Candida auris — a “superbug” fungal infection — that resulted in four deaths.

Of nine total cases in Collin County, two were resistant to multiple medications, resulting in one of the deaths, according to a Friday news release from Collin County Health Care Services. Seven cases were resistant to echinocandin antifungal drugs and resulted in three deaths.

County officials did not identify the two affected healthcare facilities.

The first reported case was on Jan. 25, the release said.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday that they have found evidence of the “superbug” fungus spreading in two Dallas-area hospitals, the Associated Press reported. The CDC has not publicly identified those hospitals, and it was unclear Friday whether the Collin County facilities were the only ones affected.

A cluster of 22 cases in Dallas-area hospitals included two patients with invasive fungal infections that were impervious to all three major classes of medications, according to the CDC. Those cases occurred between January and April.

An outbreak of 101 cases of the “superbug” also was reported in a Washington, D.C, nursing home, including three patients who were resistant to all three kinds of antifungal medications, the AP reported.

In the two outbreaks, five patients were fully resistant to treatment and three of those patients died — two in Texas and one in Washington, D.C., the CDC said.

Dr. Meghan Lyman with the CDC told the AP that both the Texas and Washington outbreaks are ongoing and that additional infections have been identified since April. But those added numbers were not reported.

The general public is typically not at risk of contracting the fungus outside of a hospital or health care setting, according to the Collin County release. As cases were identified in early 2021, advisories were sent to hospitals and other healthcare facilities, county officials said.

Collin County Health Care Services said it’s working with the CDC and Texas Department of State Health Services to control spread of the infection.

County health officials say they are following the CDC’s recommendations, including:

  • Promptly notifying facilities of positive results.

  • Providing guidance to facilities.

  • Reviewing facilities’ infection control procedures to identify any gaps.

  • Conducting laboratory surveillance to identify new cases.

Properly following basic infection control practices, which include practicing hand hygiene, wearing personal protective equipment, and using proper disinfectants, should prevent the spread of Candida auris within a facility, the county health department said.

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