Candida auris (C. auris) is a multi-drug resistant yeast that can cause deadly bloodstream infections and other invasive infections of the body. C. auris infections are on the rise around the world, including the United States where over 500 cases have been reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 3 patients with C. auris infections will die, making it an important public health threat. C. auris is difficult to identify, and can survive on hospital surfaces for several weeks. C. auris can spread through contact with affected patients and contaminated surfaces or equipment, which makes it hard to stop outbreaks.
The CDC provides guidance for handling C. auris outbreaks. Hospitals should report C. auris cases to the health department when infection is suspected and implement infection control interventions to help prevent the spread of C. auris. These include:
- Hand hygiene
- Environmental cleaning and disinfection
- Contact precautions
Family members and those coming in contact with C. auris patients should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash hands using soap and water after contact.
Patient rooms should be cleaned and disinfected using a disinfectant that has efficacy against C. auris. Healthcare workers should use personal protection equipment, such as gown and gloves, when entering a room with a C. auris patient.
Xenex® LightStrike Germ-Zapping™ Robots can be used to help reduce the risk of a C. auris outbreak in the hospital environment. Xenex Robots use a Pulsed Xenon lamp to generate broad-spectrum germicidal ultraviolet light that destroys multi-drug resistant pathogens such as C. auris. Adding the Xenex Robot to your hospital’s infection prevention bundle can help combat the spread of C. auris in the hospital environment. For example, several hospitals in the northeast have successfully used the Xenex Robots to combat a C. auris outbreak. These hospitals used 15-minute cycles in patient rooms to help prevent the spread of C. auris in their facilities.
Author: Deborah Passey, PhD