Inevitable deadly superbug Candida auris will arrive in New Zealand – expert | 1 NEWS NOW



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It is inevitable that a deadly fungal infection will reach our back, according to a health expert.

It is called Candida auris and is difficult to treat because it is resistant to antifungal drugs from the front line.

The fungus spreads more easily in hospitals and "is a problem for people whose immune system is damaged," said University of Otago professor Michael Baker.

This includes "very young and premature children, very old people with serious health problems, people recovering from surgery," he said.

Those infected with superbugia can develop a deadly infection of the bloodstream.

"The literature suggests that there is a high mortality rate between 20 and 50%," said Janice Verley, an infectious disease specialist at Nassau University Medical Center in New York.

The number of countries with reported cases of infection is now more than 30, including Canada, Britain and Australia.

In the United States, there are now more than 6000 cases.

"Anyone who has concerns about fevers, chills, sweating, wound infections, anything like that should look for care as soon as possible," Verley said.

Mr. Baker told 1 NEWS that it is only a matter of time before Candida auris arrives here, and he is concerned that our health systems are not prepared for it.

"We need a lot more work to prepare this and other forms of antimicrobial resistance," he said.

"I mean, we know this is coming … this organism and other similar organisms."

"We need protocols, trained personnel, we need to examine laboratory systems, ways to track patients in many things," he said.

In a statement to 1 NEWS, the Ministry of Health said the biggest risk to New Zealand is from patients who transfer from foreign hospitals.

It's inflexible, "the National Mycology Reference Laboratory for New Zealand is available to provide confirmation and susceptibility testing."

The ministry added that it is taking steps to minimize the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

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