The District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) is alerting healthcare providers of the increasing number of Candia auris (C. auris) cases reported in the region. Most of the cases currently or previously resided in skilled nursing facilities with ventilated patients or in long term acute care hospitals.
C. auris is an emerging fungus of increasing public health concern that can cause outbreaks of severe and even fatal infection among hospitalized patients. Patients can remain colonized for extended lengths of time, and C. auris can persist on surfaces in healthcare environments, facilitating spread between patients. C. auris has commonly spread in long-term care facilities caring for people with severe medical conditions.
The rapid emergence and spread of COVID-19 has presented unique challenges in implementing the infection prevention and control measures necessary to prevent transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) within healthcare settings. Recent outbreaks may be related to changes in routine infection control practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, including limited availability of gloves and gowns, or reuse of these items, and changes in cleaning and disinfection practices. New C. auris cases without links to known cases or healthcare abroad have been identified recently in multiple states, suggesting an increase in undetected transmission. Containment of C. auris and other MDROs remains of utmost importance to prevent concurrent outbreaks in the context of COVID-19. This Health Notice provides recommendations on identification, reporting, and infection control measures for C. auris to help prevent further spread in DC and the region.