Candida auris is a fungus not usually found in human flora. It is typically contracted in healthcare settings. It can cause infections in some people, particularly adults with many other health problems, particularly immunosuppression. These people are treated with an antifungal medication.
However, Candida auris is often resistant to many of the antifungal drugs usually used to treat this type of fungus. Therefore, it can be difficult to find an effective antifungal medication.
Symptoms depend on the site of infection. Candida auris can cause an infection in the blood, a wound, ears, urinary tract, bones, or meninges (lining around the brain).
Rarely, a person can be a carrier of the Candida auris fungus without getting sick or showing symptoms of infection.
When seeking to identify people at risk of carrying Candida auris, samples may be taken from the armpit and groin area. Other areas can also be tested depending on the situation (ex., nose, throat, wounds).
The doctor determines the antifungal drugs that might be effective based on the type of infection and the test results.
Candida auris could cause severe complications, depending on the type of infection caused. Like other species of Candida, some infections can be serious enough to endanger the life of infected persons.
Candida auris is spread mainly through direct contact with the contaminated hands of a carrier or infected person, with those of the caregiver or with indirect contact with contaminated surfaces and objects.
A person can remain a Candida auris carrier for several months.
People in good health generally do not contract infections from this fungus.
Protection and prevention
Hygiene measures at home when a person is infected
To avoid spreading Candida auris at home, take the following hygiene measures:
Wash your hands with soap and water or with a hydroalcoholic solution. This is the simplest and most effective measure and must be applied by the infected person and their family members.
Wash the infected person’s clothes and bed linen in warm or hot water with household laundry detergent.
Avoid using the infected person’s personal items, such as a towel or razor;
Use bleach (1 part bleach in 9 parts water) to disinfect the environment and any objects that may have been contaminated by the infected person.
Dispose of dressings soiled with the infected person’s secretions in a sealed plastic bag and wash your hands afterwards.
If you are receiving home care, make sure care providers take special precautions when treating you. Gloves and a gown may be required to avoid spreading the fungus to other people.
Measures taken in health care facilities
If you have a consultation or are being admitted to hospital, a medical clinic or a nursing home, you must inform the health care staff that you are a Candida auris carrier.
When a hospital admits a Candida auris carrier, various measures must be put in place.
These measures are maintained until laboratory test results show that the patient is no longer a carrier.
When leaving the health care facility, the carrier must inform their doctor or the health professional if another person at home is ill or has a weakened immune system. Additional measures may be necessary at home to protect the person.
In nursing homes, measures are adapted to the setting and the person's condition.
Candida auris cases in Quebec health care facilities are reported to the public health authorities.