Doctors are currently making a worrying observation: a multi-resistant germ called Candida Auris is currently spreading more and more—and the Corona pandemic, of all things, could be the reason for this.
Yeast Candida Aurisspreading rapidly in hospitals
The yeast fungus has been known since 2009 and is spreading rapidly, especially in hospitals. There, it primarily attacks immunocompromised patients, where it can be fatal with a mortality rate of 30 to 60 percent.
With more people now needing hospital treatment due to COVID-19, especially those with weak immune systems, experts attribute an increase in Candida Auris infections to the coronavirus, according to National Geographic.
Tom Chiller, Chief of the Division of Mycotic Diseases at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, explains the current observation on fungal infections, which were already worrying in the autumn but are now reaching alarming levels:
Unfortunately, there have been places where C. auris has resurfaced. We have also seen it getting into some of the emergency hospitals and also into some COVID-19 units. What is worrying is that once it is established there, it is difficult to get rid of.
Although it is still too early to clearly confirm the connection, 1,272 cases of Candida Auris infections have already been registered in 2020, an increase of400% since 2018.
Study confirms link between COVID-19 and Candida Auris
Anuradha Chowdhary, a professor at the University of Delhi in India, is a specialist in this germ and is already publishing a small study in 2020 on critically ill COVID-19 patients who have developed a C. Auris fungal infection in the bloodstream.
Ten out of 15 of these patients then testes positive for Candida Auris, which was probably acquired in a hospital—a disturbing discovery.
German doctor gives the all-clear
But Dr Georg-Christian Zinn, Director of the Bioscientia Hygiene Centre, gives the all-clear for now and also assesses the danger as low. He explained to RTL:
This is really a problem with the intensive care units, the tumour units. We have known about this for many years. But of course with the amount of intensive care patients we have now, the problem of fungal blood poisoning is also increasing.
With the number of corona intensive care patients decreasing, this problem should lessen by itself, according to the physician. We can only hope that he is right.