Candida auris (C. auris) is a type of fungus that can make you very sick. If it gets into your bloodstream, it can be life-threatening.
Often, drugs do not work against this type of germ. It has spread in health care facilities (hospitals and nursing homes) and is hard to get rid of once it is in the facility.
This fungus is becoming more common. C. auris has been found in over 30 countries and was found in the U.S. in 2013. It is difficult to treat and more research is being done on how it spreads.
Candida auris 101
Causes and Transmission
Healthy people do not usually get sick from C. auris. It mainly makes people sick who spend a lot of time in health care settings and who already have many medical problems. Most people who get sick from C. auris have spent time in nursing homes and have lines and tubes that go into their body (such as breathing tubes, feeding tubes, and central venous catheters).
The fungus can spread in health care settings through touching a surface that has C. auris on it, or from person to person. Some people can have C. auris on their skin and other body parts without feeling sick, and they can spread the fungus to others.
Handwashing and cleaning in health care facilities is important because this fungus can live on surfaces for several weeks. More research is needed to better understand how it spreads.
Signs and Symptoms
You may not notice symptoms of C. auris because patients with this type of fungus are often already sick in the hospital with another serious illness or condition.
If you do notice symptoms, they depend on which part of the body is affected. C. auris can cause many different types of infections, such as bloodstream, wounds, and ear infections.
Because there is such a wide range of symptoms, a laboratory test is needed to see whether a patient has C. auris.
Most C. auris infections can be treated with a type of antifungal drug called echinocandins. However, some C. auris infections have been resistant to all three main types of antifungal medications, making them harder to treat.
In this situation, multiple types of antifungal medications at high doses may be needed to treat the infection. Antibiotics do not work against C. auris.
Special precautions need to be taken to help stop the spread of C. auris to others. The following steps can be taken to reduce the chance of spreading the fungus to other patients in a health care setting:
- Place the patient in a room without a roommate.
- Wear gowns and gloves when health care workers care for the patient.
- Practice good hand hygiene for patients, family members, and health care workers.
- Clean rooms of patients with C. auris daily. Hospital grade disinfectants that are effective against Clostridioides difficile spores also work against C. auris.
- Candida auris Fact Sheet, P-02443: Educational fact sheet for the general public on C. auris covering signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention
- Information for Patients and Family Members: CDC webpage including information on symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention
- Candida auris resources: CDC webpage containing resources for patients and their families