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Cleaning and Hand Hygiene Can Contain New Pathogen

Researchers survey heath care facilities for spread of Candida auris

October 8, 2019

Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces and adherence to hand hygiene practices can lead to the containment of an emerging pathogen posing a threat to health care facilities, Infection Control Today reports.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health, and Orange County Health Care Agency have been surveilling the colonization and transmission of Candida auris in long-term acute care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities with ventilator units in California. Candida auris, or C. auris, is a species of fungus first described in 2009 that can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. Patients who have been hospitalized for a long time and/or have a central venous catheter or other lines or tubes entering their body appear to be at highest risk of infection with this pathogen, according to the CDC.

The researchers found 45 C. auris-colonized patients in the long-term care hospitals and nursing facilities. That number increased to 124 colonized patients in the repeat surveillances, with most of the patients (70%) at two facilities.

When researchers looked at infection prevention measures, they found that slightly more than half of the facilities had high rates of hand hygiene adherence, three had limited access to alcohol-based hand rubs, and about 60% had high-touch surfaces that were clean. They recommend early detection of the fungus, followed by rapid investigation and thorough containment efforts to contain the spread of C. auris.

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