Worldwide cases of an infection known as Candida auris have become an “urgent threat,” unveiling the dangers of drug-resistant germs for both bacteria and fungi from a cloud of secrecy over fear of public hysteria, The New York Times reported.
“It’s an enormous problem,” professor of fungal epidemiology at Imperial College London Matthew Fisher told the Times. “We depend on being able to treat those patients with antifungals.”
The symptoms are similar to flu-like conditions – fever, aches, and fatigue – and the “superbugs” resistant to medicine are most problematic for people, fatal even, with weak immune systems, particularly newborns, the elderly, and diabetics, according to the report.
Antimicrobial soaps and drugs have long been blamed for the evolution of these “superbugs” and the use of it in pesticides extends the issue to our food chain.
“On everything — potatoes, beans, wheat, anything you can think of, tomatoes, onions — we are driving this with the use of antifungicides on crops,” Imperial College London infectious disease expert Dr. Johanna Rhodes told the Times.
The Center for Disease Control reports nearly half of patients who contract Candida auris die, and the fungi spreads very easily and can take over a hospital room, leading some hospitals to keep the outbreak quiet to avoid public hysteria, according to the report.
“It’s hard enough with these organisms for healthcare providers to wrap their heads around it,” former CDC outbreak investigator Dr. Anna Yaffee told the Times. “It’s really impossible to message to the public.”