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    C. auris may contaminate environments rapidly, even after disinfection: Study

    C. auris may contaminate environments rapidly, even after disinfection: Study


    When patients are colonized with Candida auris, contamination of their surrounding environments can happen within just a few hours, according to the results of a new study. 

    Researchers conducted a prospective multicenter study to evaluate environmental contamination associated with C. auris colonization at six ventilator-capable skilled nursing facilities and one acute-care hospital in Illinois and California. Forty-one patients who were known carriers of the drug-resistant fungal pathogen were sampled at five body-sites. Nearby room surfaces were then sampled before disinfection and up to 12 hours after disinfection. 

    By four hours post-disinfection, 20.5% of room surfaces were contaminated, according to the findings published Dec. 6 in Clinical Infectious Diseases. Before room surfaces were disinfected, 32% of surfaces were contaminated. Overall, a higher number of colonized body sites was linked to higher odds of environmental contamination. Researchers also found the majority of C. auris carriers were also colonized with a bacterial multidrug-resistant organism, such as MRSA. In rooms of patients who were also carriers of a bacterial MDRO, up to 24% of surfaces were contaminated with the same organism within four hours after disinfection. 

    C. auris can contaminate the healthcare environment rapidly after disinfection, highlighting the challenges associated with environmental disinfection,” researchers said. “Future research should investigate long-acting disinfectants, antimicrobial surfaces, and more effective patient skin antisepsis to reduce the environmental reservoir of C. auris and bacterial MDROs in healthcare settings.”

    C. auris is a drug-resistant fungal pathogen that health agencies consider among those that pose the greatest threat to public health. The fungus is generally not a concern to healthy individuals but poses significant risk to “people who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities,” according to the CDC. 

    Clinical cases of C. auris, meaning infection is present, grew 95% from 2020 to 2021, according to findings published earlier this year.



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