Since the beginning of the current coronavirus crisis, health care workers have found an increasing number of difficulties in controlling the infection at facilities. These range from the shortage of personal protective equipment to lack of space or bedding to accommodate new patients. Now, many coronavirus facilities are reporting deadly fungus outbreaks in different parts of California.
According to previous reports on coronavirus treatment centers, many patients are susceptible to secondary bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. This is majorly due to the shortage of PPEs, as said by most frontline workers. The lack of proper equipment can significantly increase germ spread among the workers as well as patients.
An earlier study also suggested that as many as fifty percents of the coronavirus deaths were caused by a secondary infection the patients had caught from hospitals. Coronavirus patients, specifically those who stay in emergency rooms are at a very high risk of catching such infections.
Now, health officials from L.A County report the spread of another deadly fungus in coronavirus facilities. Candida Auris is infecting many of the health care workers and the patients because of PPE shortage, the officials state. In California, many health care workers are facing a severe shortage of even the most basic equipment.
For instance, many health care workers are no longer able to find gowns, scrubs, or even gloves for wearing to the hospitals. This means that hospital infection rates can go up higher as the pandemic continues and the shortage remains.
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The first case of the fungus Candida Auris was first diagnosed in Japan in the year 2009. Though the fungus can be controlled in early-stage through proper care and treatment, it can also turn deadly within a short span of time. This is why the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has deemed the fungus a potential ‘global threat’ since its discovery.
Candida Auris is responsible for a number of infections related to the bloodstream. In some cases, the infections are severe enough to impact the heart and brain and cause death. Nearly one in three people lose their life after developing a bloodstream infection caused by the fungus.
Like all other infectious fungi, C. Auris is highly contagious. However, unlike other infections, it cannot be treated as easily, which is why it is often only successfully treated when diagnosed at very early stages. The majority of the anti-fungal medication that is used for the treatments of other fungal infections do not work for C. Auris.
In addition, Candida Auris can survive on surfaces for weeks and spread easily especially in hospitals and medical facilities as many disinfectants also do not work on it. This is why LA County health officials are now warning other coronavirus health care facilities about the new deadly fungus outbreaks.
“If a patient is positive for more than one organism, ensure you use an Environmental Protection Agency-registered hospital-grade disinfectant that is effective against all organisms the patient is positive for. Check the label,” the officials warned.
According to the CDC, most people who get a deadly C. Auris infection already have a serious medical condition, which is why it often goes unnoticed. This also means that most coronavirus facilities are vulnerable to future outbreaks.
Therefore, patient gowns should not be exchanged especially if the patient has coronavirus infection, C. Auris, or other drug-resistant infections. Health care workers should also be extra careful to prevent both COVID-19 and other deadly infections.