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New deadly drug-resisant superbug linked to four deaths in the US


Superbugs

(NaturalNews) The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been of the utmost concern for quite some time now. But bacteria are not the only microorganisms that can become drug-resistant. A report recently released by the CDC has revealed that a deadly drug-resistant fungus is on the loose, and it's already killed four hospital patients.

The fungus, called Candida auris, was first identified in Japan in 2009. Since that time, it has made its way around the globe. It's already been detected in South America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to the CDC. Candida auris often preys upon the sickest patients, and can spread through hospital exposure.

The fungus was first identified as a possible threat in 2013, after the CDC received a report of a potential case. Since June of this year the organization has been on high alert. In its most recent report, the CDC states that there have been 13 reported cases of the Candida auris infection. Seven of the 13 infections reportedly occurred in the states of New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland.

The report also indicates that all of the patients who contracted the fungus were already suffering with severe illnesses, including cancer. The affected patients had already been hospitalized for an average of 18 days when they tested positive for the Candida auris fungus. Two patients that were infected had been receiving inpatient care at the same hospital, and were infected with nearly identical strains of the fungus. Whether or not the patients passed on due to the fungus or their underlying health conditions remains unclear; doctors have said that they cannot be absolutely sure of the exact cause of death in cases like these.

Regardless, health officials are warning hospitals nationwide that they need to be extremely vigilant.

Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC said, "We need to act now to better understand, contain and stop the spread of this drug-resistant fungus. This is an emerging threat, and we need to protect vulnerable patients and others."

Unfortunately, identifying the fungus is quite difficult. According to the CDC, it requires special laboratory methods because it has so much in common with other species. In the new report, many of the samples were initially identified incorrectly as other types of fungi.

And of course, it wouldn't be a drug-resistant fungus if it wasn't hard to treat. A staggering 71 percent of the fungal samples obtained by the CDC were resistant to current drugs. In other countries, samples have even been resistant to all three major classes of anti-fungal drugs.

Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, notes that hospital patients are at a particularly increased risk of being infected, especially if they have been given antibiotics. This is because antibiotics wipe out the populations of healthy bacteria that actually help to ward off infections.

"It's a warning or wake-up against the indiscriminate use of antibiotics, especially in hospital settings," Hotez said.

Amesh Adalja, senior associate at the UPMC Center for Health Security in Baltimore, says that in earlier cases, the patient mortality rate was about 59 percent. Adalja notes that the previous median patient age was 54, and that the top underlying condition was diabetes. He also adds that roughly half of the patients infected with Candida auris had undergone surgery within 90 days.

"Candida auris is a major threat that carries a high mortality," Adalja said.

Perhaps it's time for mainstream medicine to start looking at more natural alternatives.

Sources:

MedicalXpress.com

CDC.gov

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