Washington- A deadly multidrug-resistant fungal infection under the scientific name of Candida auris (C. auris) is deemed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an "urgent threat" to large segments of the population across the world.
C. auris, a germ that has become resistant against regular drugs, preys on crowds with immature or compromised immune systems, including newborns and the elderly, smokers, diabetics and people with autoimmune disorders, according to the CDC.
The bug is cause for concern for three reasons: It is resistant to major antifungal medications, easily misidentified using existing laboratory methods and has caused outbreaks in healthcare settings.
Now alarmingly, in merely five years' time, this tenacious germ has hit almost all inhabited continents, with cases found in Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America.
But what prompted the CDC to issue a threat alert was its increasing presence in New York, New Jersey and Illinois.
Last May, a blood test on an elderly patient at the Brooklyn branch of Mount Sinai Hospital revealed the existence of a newly discovered lethal germ in his body, local media reported. Despite timely isolation in the intensive care unit, the patient died after three months in the hospital. The bug remained and seized hold of the whole room, and was so invasive that a mere clean-up was far from enough - even ceilings and floor tiles were partly ripped out to eradicate the intractable fungus.
The emergence of the superbug C. auris is a reminder that other microbes out there can also become resistant to treatments provided by modern medicine. More efforts from world epidemiologists and fungal disease experts are urgently needed for quick identification, precautions and effective combating measures.