If you’ve been seeing headlines popping up about a deadly, drug-resistant yeast infection that’s sweeping the world, we don’t blame you for getting supremely freaked out. Yeast infections are never fun and this one sounds scary, for sure. But let’s dig into some of the facts surrounding the headlines while taking a collective deep breath, shall we?
First and foremost: this “yeast infection” is NOT the kind you treat with Monistat. Leaving on a wet swimsuit too long and getting itchy downstairs is not going to kill you, we swear. Again: deep breath.
This yeast infection is caused by a strain of yeast called Candida auris, which becomes dangerous — and potentially deadly — when it invades a wound or gets into your bloodstream. For this reason, it’s mostly a problem in hospitals where patients have undergone surgery or are dealing with serious injuries and illness. While other strains of yeast respond to antifungal drugs, this one seems to be resistant. It’s caused outbreaks in hospitals in nine countries so far, but besides one possible case in 2013, it hasn’t shown up in the U.S. yet.
The CDC is keeping a close eye on this strain of yeast infection and has issued warnings to clinics to be aware and prepare for the possibility of an outbreak. As of right now, Candida auris is only theoretically a threat in the U.S., and we’re hoping it stays that way. Definitely not something to get freaked out about!