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When Fungi Attack!

  1. Nov 4, 2016 #1
    CDC identifies first US cases of drug-resistant fungal infection

    I heard on the radio that several of these patients died because the doctors did not recognize the disease and didn't properly diagnose it.

    As someone with psoriasis/eczema, I'm susceptible to fungal infections and this does concern me.

    What do you think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 4, 2016 #2
    "C. auris is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods and can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. CDC encourages all U.S. laboratory staff who identify C. auris strains to notify their state or local public health authorities and CDC at candidaauris@cdc.gov."

    It appears that the CDC has been pushing for stricter standards "In 2013, CDC issued a report describing antibiotic resistance threats in the United States that needed prompt action, including Candida infections." I think it's part of a larger problem involving globalization in general and global environmental change. One of the members of my subgroup in the American Geophysical Union's Global Environmental Focus Group is an epidemiologist and when we meet we plot changes on a huge wall map, sit back with our glasses of wine and say, "Oh, s***." when things seem to be converging. In the cases of diseases, we clearly need to be more vigilant than in the past.
  4. Nov 5, 2016 #3

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    Superbugs arise from over prescribing/overuse of antibiotics and antibiotic abuse. It is not always the failure of a medical professional to identify or recognize a pathogen, (while dangerous for a given patient), that is the real problem. Some other issues:

    1. Iatrogenic infections - On a routine visit, I am exposed to pathogens in a medical facility that have been in and around antibiotics in patients and survived. Maybe bugs are resident in air conditioning ducts, as a simple-minded example. I pick up something from exam equipment that lay in the open for a few minutes. Voila.

    2. I take antibiotics, but don't follow directions. A patient compliance failure. Like stopping antibiotics early. I build my very own personal supply of resistant bugs this way. Example: Tuberculosis patient is on drugs with unpleasant side effects for long periods. So, the patient gets p*** off, stops the meds early. Then TB symptoms return. The patient now has to use another possibly more unpleasant drug because the TB bacteria have become resistant to the previous drug. Wash, rinse, repeat - and patient now has is own supply of TB superbugs. Which he can now freely donate to friends and neighbors.

    3. Taking antibiotics when there is no good reason to do so. Example: taking antibiotics meant to control bacterial infections for a virus infection. Many third world countries have very powerful antibiotics available from street vendors. Physicians are often few and far between. Example: Every time I get sick with a cold or the flu, I buy Amoxicillin or whatever from a vendor. I am creating the same situation for myself as in #2 above.
  5. Nov 5, 2016 #4
  6. Nov 5, 2016 #5
    What about the fact that this is a fungal infection makes the approach of medical professionals different than if it were a drug resistant bacteria or virus?
  7. Nov 5, 2016 #6
    I'm not sure what you're asking. There are antibacterial, anti fungal and anti viral drugs. There are far more choices among antibacterial drugs than among the other two. However drug resistance is a big problem for antibacterial and increasingly for anti fungal drugs. For C auris specifically, it's hard to diagnose. In my previous post, the failure of a standard fungal infection test is described in the link.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2016
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