Deadly rare SUPERBUG warning: Patient contracted ‘lethal infection in UK hospital’
An elderly patient is believed to have contracted a deadly rare fungal superbug in a UK hospital – sparking alarm among health authorities.
The 70-year-old man is thought to have contracted Candida auras (C.auris) after visiting the hospital, which has not been publicly identified.
It was discovered during a follow-up hospital visit in Melbourne when he returned to Australia.
The yeast fungus, which is able to live on the skin and inside the body, can cause deadly complications and it cannot be treated by main medications used for similar bugs.
Since first being identified in Japan in 2009 in the ear canal of a 70-year-old woman, it has spread to 27 countries.
In August 2016, Public Health England warned the drug resistant fungus had spread to at least 55 hospitals across Britain and around 200 people had been either contaminated or infected.
Research from the University of Oxford found that in one outbreak involving 66 cases, armpit thermometers had been used during the treatment of 57 patients.
Dr David Eyre from the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford said: “Despite a bundle of infection control interventions, the outbreak was only controlled following removal of the temperature probes.”
Australian health authorities have warned the superbug can cause serious bloodstream infections and even death in hospitals and nursing homes with patients with serious medical problems.
Victoria’s health department said: “More than 1 in 3 patients with invasive C. auris infection (for example, an infection that affects the blood, heart, or brain) die.”
The state’s chief health officer Dr Brett Sutton said: “It’s a danger for people who are vulnerable, if they’ve got significant, pre-existing illness.”
But Dr Sutton said fitter and healthier patients are less likely to contract the bug.
Patients that could be at risk following the UK case include those treated in countries including the UK, US, India, South Africa and Kuwait and those who have diabetes, use antibiotics and have recently had surgery.
It is transmitted via person-to-person contact and through medical equipment such as the armpit thermometers.
Most people do not get sick from C.auris but can develop deadly and potentially fatal infections, reported News.com.au.
Maryn McKenna, American journalist and author of Superbug, said: “(C.auris) has developed the ability to survive on cool external skin and cold inorganic surfaces, which allows it to linger on the hands of healthcare workers and on the doorknobs and counters and computer keys of a hospital room.”