'Superbug' fungus Candida auris found in 76-year-old Oakland County man

Posted at 10:04 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 10:04:58-04

(WXYZ & ASSOCIATED PRESS) — A rare fungus, Candida auris, was found in a 76-year-old Oakland County man in late May, according to a document obtained by the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University.

"C. auris is a public health threat because it is often multidrug-resistant, is difficult to identify, and can persist on surfaces in healthcare environments, resulting in the spread of C. auris among patients in healthcare facilities," the document read.

This is Michigan’s first documented case of C. auris.

The harmful form of yeast is considered dangerous to hospital and nursing home patients with serious medical problems. It is most deadly when it enters the bloodstream, heart or brain.

Candida Auris by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd

Outbreaks in health care facilities have been spurred when the fungus spread through patient contact or on contaminated surfaces.

U.S. health officials told the Associated Press earlier this month that they had evidence of this untreatable fungus spreading.

The “superbug” outbreaks were reported in a Washington, D.C, nursing home and at two Dallas-area hospitals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. A handful of the patients had invasive fungal infections that were impervious to all three major classes of medications.

“This is really the first time we’ve started seeing clustering of resistance” in which patients seemed to be getting the infections from each other, said the CDC’s Dr. Meghan Lyman.

Health officials have sounded alarms for years about the superbug after seeing infections in which commonly used drugs had little effect. In 2019, doctors diagnosed three cases in New York that were also resistant to a class of drugs, called echinocandins, that were considered a last line of defense.

In those cases, there was no evidence the infections had spread from patient to patient — scientists concluded the resistance to the drugs formed during treatment.

In the case of the Oakland County man, the Oakland County Health Division confirms that the case was isolated and that no other C. auris infections have been linked to it.