Hong Kong health officials have announced that they are trying to control the transmission of a transmissible, drug-resistant fungus, Candida auris and that has a lethality rate between 30 to 60%. “We are trying to control the fungus inside hospitals and nursing homes, so that it is not transmitted to the community“Raymond Lai, director of infection control at the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, told the local press this Friday.
Already detected 136 cases in 2020 (against 20 of 2019), mostly in public hospitals and nursing homes. Lai admits that the Covid-19 pandemic may have contributed to the dramatic increase in patients with the fungus Candida auris, as isolation equipment has only been available to treat patients with the new coronavirus.
Some hospitals do not have isolated rooms in general wards, which means that have to place patients with Candida auris in the corner of these wards as a precautionary measure, which can increase the chances of cross-infection, ”said the Hong Kong Hospital Authority infection control director.
Still, Hai says patients with Candida auris will continue to “Share equipment” in hospital centers, but health authorities “aim to have separate equipment for all patients and prevent cross-infection between them”. Although the situation is “worrying”, Lai stressed that the number of cases remains low.
The age of patients is between 21 and 101 and almost 80% of confirmed cases are over 60 years old. The disease is usually detected in the oral cavity, digestive tract and skin. Immunocompromised patients, those who have undergone surgery or those who have been hospitalized for a long time are more susceptible to the fungus.