New York State health regulators have published a list of hospitals and nursing homes that have treated the deadly superbug called Candida auris. It’s a fungus that can enter the blood stream; is difficult to identify; is resistant to many drugs used to treat Candida infections, and it’s deadly.
The new report released by the New York State Department of Health has identified several Hudson Valley hospitals and long-term care facilities where the drug-resistant super fungus was found.
The report identified seven hospitals and eight long-term care facilities in the Hudson Valley where patients were identified as being infected with the fungus Candida auris, or C. auris.
The superbug has mainly spread in New York City and surrounding areas. SEE: Deadly ‘Superbug’ Threat to New York Increases. In the two years the state DOH has been tracking C. auris, infections have increased more than five times. The average age of patients infected was 69, the DOH said.
“C. auris has been found in health care facilities throughout the New York City metropolitan area,” the DOH report reads. “It is not a problem particular to any one facility but rather a challenge for all facilities in the region, regardless of whether C. auris has thus far been identified there.”
The fungus can cause many different types of infection, such as in the bloodstream, a wound or the ear. Because symptoms can vary greatly, a laboratory test is needed to determine whether a patient has a C. auris infection.
Fungal infections often cause serious disease among patients with compromised immune systems or other debilitating conditions resulting in high morbidity and mortality. Globally, nearly 1.4 million deaths a year are attributed to invasive fungal infections, which is on par with deadly diseases like tuberculosis.
The Hudson Valley hospitals where the DOH said C. auris was found are:
- St. John’s Riverside Hospital – St. John’s Division, Yonkers
- Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla
- Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern
- Helen Hayes Hospital, Nyack
- Montefiore Nyack Hospital, Nyack
- Orange Regional Medical Center
- Vassar Brothers Medical Center
The Hudson Valley long-term medical facilities where the DOH said C. auris was found:
- Adira at Riverside Rehabilitation and Nursing
- Schaffer Extended Care Center
- Tarrytown Hall Care Center
- Friedwald Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing
- Northern Manor Geriatric Center Inc.
- Northern Riverview Health Care Center Inc.
- Nyack Ridge Rehab & Nursing Center
- Pine Valley Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing
Last year, a man at the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital, who was in for abdominal surgery, became infected with C. auris, the New York Times said. When he died 90 days later, tests showed that the fungus was everywhere in his room, and the hospital had to use special cleaning equipment and even rip out some ceiling and floor tiles to get rid of it completely.
However, the state DOH stressed that, because of the difficulty of treating C. auris and its long incubation period, people should not use the list to decide where to seek care. It also stressed that being named on the list doesn’t reflect on the institution’s quality of care.
“Inclusion on these lists of impacted facilities does not necessarily imply that the patient or resident acquired C. auris at that facility,” the report reads. “Persons who are colonized or infected with C. auris tend to have multiple serious medical problems and frequent admissions and transfers to different hospitals or [long-term care facilities]. Because a person can be asymptomatically colonized for an indeterminate period, it is not usually possible to determine where C. auris was acquired.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, C. auris usually infects people who are already sick, so diagnosing it can be difficult. It can infect the blood and organs, causing a fever that does not go away after treatment with antibiotics. More than 1 in 3 patients with an invasive C. auris infection die, according to the CDC.
“All facilities in highly affected communities might care for patients or residents who are colonized or infected with C. auris, whether known or unknown,” the DOH report concludes. “This illustrates the need for careful and thorough routine infection control, including environmental cleaning and disinfection, in every health care facility.”