Candida auris (C. auris)

Candida auris, also known as C. auris, is a type of yeast that can cause serious infections in humans, including bloodstream or wound infections. When people develop C. auris on places such as their skin but do not have an infection, this is called colonization. However, being colonized may increase their risk of developing an infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

C. auris:

  1. Causes serious infections. C. auris can cause bloodstream infections and even death, particularly in hospital patients and nursing home residents with serious medical problems. More than 1 in 3 individuals with invasive C. auris infection (for example, an infection that affects the blood, heart, or brain) die.
  2. Is difficult to treat. Antifungal medicines commonly used to treat other fungal infections often don’t work on C. auris.
  3. Can be difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods. C. auris can be misidentified as other types of Candida in laboratories without specific technology.
  4. Is becoming more common. C. auris has spread quickly and caused infections in more than a dozen countries, including the United States.
  5. Has caused outbreaks in health care settings. For this reason, it is important to quickly identify C. auris in patients so that health care facilities can take precautions to stop its spread.

Between May 24, 2016 and September 26, 2018, 368 cases of C. auris have been identified in Illinois. Of these, 290 cases were colonized (i.e., identified by culturing C. auris from a swab that was rubbed on a patient’s skin), and 72 were confirmed clinical cases (i.e., identified by culturing C. auris from sites such as blood, wounds, urine, or sputum).  The vast majority of these cases currently or previously resided in skilled nursing facilities with ventilated patients or in long term acute care hospitals. Tables 1 and 2 summarize some characteristics of clinical and colonized patients.

Table 1. Characteristics of 47 clinical case patients with available risk factor data

Characteristic Percentage of Patients
Presence of IV device 83%
Wounds 79%
Feeding tube 70%
Urinary Catheter 66%
Tracheostomy 62%
Mechanically ventilated 62%

Table 2. Characteristics of 57 colonized patients with available risk factor data

Characteristic Percentage of Patients
Feeding tube 74%
Tracheostomy 68%
Mechanically ventilated 58%
Wounds 54%
Urinary Catheter 37%
Presences of an IV device 33%