Drug-resistant 'Japanese fungus' infecting hospitals across the UK

Drug-resistant 'Japanese fungus' infecting hospitals across the UK

A rare fungus that can cause drug-resistant infections has been found in around 200 patients in more than 55 hospitals across Britain, health officials said on Tuesday.

The potentially deadly superbug has spread to at least 55 hospitals and is particularly risky for anyone with a weakened immune system.

Public health chiefs said that a screening programme could be considered for patients at particular risk, including children and those in intensive care.

Meanwhile, a biosafety unit at Porton Down, the UK's chemical weapon laboratory, has been testing fungicidal activity of a variety of disinfectants and antiseptics.

"Three hospitals have seen large nosocomial (within hospital) outbreaks that have proved hard to control, despite intensive infection prevention and control measures, though two of these outbreaks have been declared over and one is seeing significantly fewer numbers of new acquisitions".

West Nile virus found in mosquitoes in Kingston area
With a positive pool identified, Public Health is reminding residents to cover up and clean up to avoid West Nile virus. The first case of a person infected with the West Nile virus in DuPage County this year was reported August 10.

No deaths due to the fungus infection have so far been reported.

First isolated from the ear of a patient in Japan in 2009, C. auris has since been linked with bloodstream and wound infections, and with ear infections known as otitis, in at least eight other countries including South Africa, Kuwait, India and Venezuela.

"The infection control measures required to control spread of this organism are very similar to those required to control spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria", the HPSC said in a statement to the Irish Independent yesterday.

PHE said most cases detected in the United Kingdom have been of colonised patients, while around a quarter of cases have been clinical infections - including 27 patients who developed blood stream infections. The outbreak proved hard to control, despite enhanced infection control interventions. C auris also differs from other types of Candida in its ability to persist on hospital surfaces and spread between patients, although the precise mode of transmission had not yet been identified.

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