There are many types of fungi that have developed resistance to antifungal drugs. However, the specific number of resistant fungal species is constantly changing as new strains and mutations emerge. Additionally, the prevalence of drug-resistant fungi can vary depending on factors such as geographic location, patient population, and medical practices.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported an “alarming rate” of the deadly, drug-resistant fungus Candida auris (C. auris) spreading in healthcare facilities across the US, and HuffPost brings details. C. auris is a yeast strain that can cause severe infections in people who have weak immune systems, invasive medical devices or who frequently stay in healthcare facilities. Cases of infection have risen significantly each year since they were first reported in the US in 2016, with 1,471 cases reported in 2021 alone. The CDC suggests that the increase is due to poor infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities, and the pandemic has exacerbated the situation.
Dr. Meghan Lyman, who is the lead author of the paper and also an epidemiologist at the CDC, explained:
The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control.
Some common examples of drug-resistant fungi include not only Candida auris, but also Aspergillus fumigatus, and Cryptococcus neoformans. However, there are many other types of fungi that have demonstrated resistance to one or more antifungal medications. It is important to note that not all strains of these fungi are necessarily resistant to drugs, and effective treatment options may still be available for some infections.
Candida auris can even be fatal, especially for people with weakened immune systems, invasive medical devices, or long stays in healthcare facilities. According to CDC data based on a limited number of patients, 30% to 60% of infected patients die. However, it’s difficult to conclude a patient’s cause of death when they are already fighting other serious illnesses. Invasive infections from any Candida species can be fatal if they enter the bloodstream, heart, and brain.