Don’t freak out, BUT maybe sit down before you read this. The Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has just released a clinical alert informing the U.S. that there is a new kind of infection-causing yeast spreading around called Candida auris — and it’s resistant to antibiotics. Although it hasn’t reared its ugly head yet on American soil, the CDC is warning us now because they are “concerned that C. auris will emerge in new locations, including the United States.” Yikes.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill, everyday, average jane yeast infection we’re talking about. According to the data we’ve got so far in our hands, 60 percent of the people who have been diagnosed with this yeast infection have actually died. Experts aren’t entirely sure whether these individuals were battling other illnesses at the time of infection, though.
Tom Chiller, the CDC’s top fungus expert, told the Washington Post, “What concerned us is that it is potentially resistant to one or two, if not all three” of the main antifungal drugs generally used to treat yeast infections. Furthermore, this particular infection doesn’t just spread from person to person. “This one seems to get into hospital settings and stay there,” Chiller says. It can be caught through contaminated surfaces.
The first time we’ve caught wind of this yeast was in 2009 in Japan. Since then, it’s been seen in South Korea, India, South Africa, Kuwait, Pakistan, Colombia, Venezuela and the United Kingdom, and the CDC believes it to be present in other countries where they don’t have the tools to recognize it and it’s not being reported.
The CDC recommends that hospitals contact public health authorities immediately if they think they have a patient with this yeast infection. Also, it’s highly recommended that patients with this yeast are quarantined in their own rooms so the risk of spreading decreases.
The important thing is to be extra careful in washing your hands and staying clean down there (as in, change your undies regularly, be careful when you wear super tight pants, and change outta your swimsuit once you’re done swimming). You can read up more on yeast infection prevention here. And also keep an eye on what the CDC has to say about this in the coming months. Hopefully that monster yeast doesn’t make its way over to us!