Local doctor addresses new superbug concerns

April 12, 2019 09:47 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — A local doctor is addressing concerns about a potentially deadly superbug spreading worldwide.

Candida auris is a drug-resistant fungus. It was first detected in the U.S. just three years ago. So far, there have been nearly 600 cases reported nationwide.

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The infection, which likely spreads through medical equipment, is hard to treat, but doctors say it is not a threat to healthy people. Patients whose immune systems are compromised are most at-risk.

Hospitals have found the best way to stop the superbug is to kill it with bleach and UV light. But it is stubborn, finding its way into every imaginable spot in a hospital room or nursing home.

At least 587 people have been infected in the U.S. The cases are mostly concentrated in Chicago and the New York metropolitan area, but there was one in Rochester two years ago.

"We did have one patient who we believe acquired it while she was in New York City and sought care at a local hospital here, said Dr. Brenda Tesini, who specializes in infectious diseases at the University of Rochester Medical Center. "We've has no cases here that were acquired here in Rochester."

Dr. Tesini is the Principal Investigator for Candidemia Surveillance in Monroe County, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infections Program housed at the Center for Community Health and Prevention of the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Symptoms of Candida auris include fever and chills. 

Health experts say they are already working on a better way to test for the superbug. The next step will be trying to figure out how to treat it.


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