Most people believe that they go to a hospital to be cured or treated for whatever illness, injury or condition they have. Few believe that they could end up contracting something at the hospital that could quickly turn deadly.
Yeast infections are no big deal, to most people. Generally caused by a fungus of the genus Candida and depending on which variety of Candida one contracts, infections can manifest themselves in a variety of ways.
Perhaps the most common forms of Candida infections are nail fungus and vaginal yeast infections. Many people may at some time in their lives will experience the ugly nail fungus on their fingers and or toes. It causes the nail to thicken, turn color and can even result in the loss of a nail.
There are a number of treatments for nail fungus, ranging from using common things like apple cider vinegar to topical and oral medications. One warning for anyone treating a nail fungus is that many of the treatments can have a direct effect on one’s liver functions.
Some years ago, I contracted hepatitis A from food infected by a grill worker. Ever since then, I have to be careful of anything that affects the function of my liver. Some years later, I contracted a Candida nail fungus on my toes. At the time, there were few over-the-counter treatments and my doctor prescribed something to fight the nail fungus. After two months on the medication, my doctor did blood work to check my liver and found that the medication had elevated my liver functions and he immediately took me off of the medication.
Caution, certain over-the-counter medications for acid reflux can also affect liver functions and I highly recommend everyone check with their doctor before using or after prolong use.
Vaginal yeast infection, caused by Candida albicans plague many women. Symptoms include itching, soreness and general discomfort, but this form of yeast infection is usually not serious. Generally, these can be treated with a variety of topical antifungal creams or antifungal suppositories.
However, there is one form of Candida that is reaching hospitals and medical facilities in the United States and this form is deadly with a mortality rate of up to 60%. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
“Healthcare facilities in several countries have reported that a type of yeast called Candida auris has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients. In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. This yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat. Patients who have been in the intensive care unit for a long time or have a central venous catheter placed in a large vein, and have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, appear to be at highest risk of infection with this yeast.”
“Specialized laboratory methods are needed to accurately identify C. auris. Conventional lab techniques could lead to misidentification and inappropriate treatment, making it difficult to control the spread of C. auris in healthcare settings.”
“Because of these factors, CDC is alerting U.S. healthcare facilities to be on the lookout for C. auris in their patients.”
“CDC is concerned about C. auris for three main reasons:
- It is often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to most antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
- It is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate treatment.
- It has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings. For this reason, rapid identification of C. auris in a hospitalized patient is particularly important so that hospitals can take special precautions to stop its spread.
Another news source states:
“Some U.S. hospitals are fighting off a potentially deadly fungus that doesn’t always respond to drugs.”
“More than 30 patients have been diagnosed with Candida auris, a fungal infection typically found in hospitals or similar places.’
“A majority of people diagnosed with the fungus have died, but it’s tough to know exactly how dangerous it is because the fungus has affected people who were already very ill.”
“Candida auris is a type of yeast infection that can infiltrate the bloodstream and cause serious illness. The fungus can also survive for a long period of time on a patient’s skin or other surfaces.”
How do you know if you have contracted Candida auris?
“Like other Candida infections, C. auris infections are usually diagnosed by fungal culture of blood or other body fluids. However, C. auris is harder to identify from cultures than other, more common types of Candida. For example, it can be confused with other types of yeasts, such as Candida haemulonii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Special laboratory tests that use molecular methods are needed to identify C. auris.”
I’m not trying to frighten anyone, but feel we all need to know what to watch out for.