Wed, 8 Aug, 2018Danielle McCarthy

Deadly superbug strikes Australia

Deadly superbug strikes Australia

A Victorian man has been isolated after doctors diagnosed him with the deadly and uncommon fungal superbug Candida auris (C. auris).

As this is the first known case of C. auris in Victoria, authorities were quick to put him in quarantine to prevent an outbreak in the Melbourne hospital.

The patient, who is in his 70s, is believed to have contracted the infection while in a UK hospital, revealed Victoria’s deputy chief health officer, Brett Sutton.

Victoria’s health department is working with the healthcare facility where the patient was admitted to screen any patients who have been in contact with the virus.

The state’s health department revealed that the superbug causes serious bloodstream infections and even death “particularly in hospital and nursing home patients with serious medical problems”.

“More than 1 in 3 patients with invasive C. auris infection (for example, an infection that affects the blood, heart or brain) die,” the department stated.

The superbug is transmitted via person-to-person contact and through medical equipment, such as axillary thermometers.

“Candida auris can cause problems in hospitals and nursing homes as it can spread from one patient to another or nearby objects, allowing the fungus to spread to people around them,” the department said.

Those at risk include those who have diabetes mellitus, use antibiotics, have had recent surgery or been admitted into an overseas healthcare facility – mainly in the UK, US, South Korea, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Kuwait, Colombia and Venezuela.

The man was in a Melbourne hospital for a pre-existing condition when he was diagnosed with the superbug, reported The Sun.

Dr Sutton said that no other patients are believed to have been exposed to the superbug as he was in a single room.

Dr Sutton revealed that the fungus is often highly resistant to medicines, which makes it hard to treat.

While most people do not get sick from C. auris, it can be severe and potentially fatal for vulnerable patients.

The organism was first discovered in 2009 and since then, outbreaks have occurred in more than 20 countries.

A warning has been issued advising health services of the case and informing them of the steps they should take if they suspect a patient has the fungus.

Any confirmed cases of C. auris should be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 651 160.