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Candida auris outbreak in ICU traced back to contaminated axillary thermometers (UK)

April 30 2018

Since 2009, the emerging pathogen Candida auris has been an increasing problem in the wounds and bloodstream of hospital patients.

In work presented at ECCMID 2018 last week, Dr David Eyre and colleagues at the University of Oxford describe a large outbreak at their teaching hospital’s neuroscience ICU. Despite hygiene measures, the yeast was traced back to multi-use equipment such as axillary (armpit) thermometers, which had been used on 57/66 patients (86%) involved in the outbreak. Seven patients (11%) went on to develop an invasive Candida infection but none died. During this time a further 4 patients were admitted who had already been diagnosed with C. auris infection. The outbreak was halted when the thermometers were removed.

 

What can I do?

  • Carry out antifungal susceptibility testing for all C. auris isolates (if possible), as they are often multidrug resistant but resistance levels vary.
  • For patients known to have a C. auris infection, use standard and contact precautions and an EPA-registered disinfectant that is effective against Clostridium spores to prevent transmission to other patients.
  • Report confirmed cases to candidaauris@cdc.gov