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Keys to Controlling the Spread of Candida auris


Snigdha Vallabhaneni, MD, MPH, Medical Epidemiologist, Mycotic Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discusses the keys to controlling the spread of Candida auris.

Interview Transcript (slightly modified for readability)

“What we say for controlling the spread of Candida auris is really based on our experience from other multidrug-resistant organisms. The keys to controlling the spread of this organism are, one, to first identify it, so suspected and identified using the correct laboratory techniques. Then, once you’ve identified a patient who’s either infected or colonized with Candida auris, the patient needs to be isolated so that they’re in a single room preferably, and no one else is exposed to them. Standard and contact precautions for healthcare workers are very important with handwashing being the key component of stopping the spread.

Then, the second is environmental cleaning, and really thorough, careful cleaning, because we’ve learned that this is an organism that really likes to persist in the environment. For this reason, focusing on the environmental cleaning is paramount to controlling the spread. Guidelines are on our [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] CDC Candida auris website, but we are recommending bleach or a sodium hypochlorite solution; so, anything that you would use to clean up a room with [Clostridium] C. difficile, is the level of precaution that we need. We’re being very careful to recommend a very high level of disinfection because we’re not sure if the other products that are commonly used would work.

Two more things are that when there’s interfacility transfer of patients—so, just like any other multidrug-resistant organism, when a patient is transferred from one facility to another—there’s notification that happens, so that the new facility can also take the same precautions that the facility that the patient was coming from was taking to prevent spread in that facility.

Finally, I think coordination between the healthcare facilities, state and local health departments, and CDC is paramount. Right now, it’s in a situation where we can control it if we take aggressive action, and this type of coordinated infection control efforts are really what’s needed to keep it to where it is, and not have it spread further in the United States.
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