Cases of deadly fungus found in Louisiana

Published: Apr. 10, 2023 at 7:20 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A deadly fungus has been spreading rapidly throughout the nation and has now made it’s way to Louisiana.

Candida Auris is a type of yeast that can cause severe illnesses or even land you in the hospital if you have underlying health issues.

“It just colonizes in the patient then it can be transferred to another one because of the underlying issues that might make it easier to produce a disease which could be deadly by the way,” Lake Charles Memorial Infectious Diseases doctor Carlos Choucino said.

In addition to those with previous health issues, long-term nursing home residents and hospital patients are most at risk.

“People who have very high interaction with healthcare facilities people who are in nursing homes but require ventilatory support people who come to the hospital frequently,” Choucino said.

This fungus is difficult to deal with. It is resistant to multiple anti-fungal drugs and can be tough to identify.

“Usually the techniques that we have in our local labs will not allow us to identify these organisms,” Choucino said.

For some, the infection causes no harm but for others, it could lead to serious health issues.

“Some people might develop pneumonia or a blood infection called septicemia and they will be really really sick,” Choucino said.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, most of the 50 cases detected in the state have been in the New Orleans area.

Choucino worries it could soon be making its way to Southwest Louisiana.

“Having this many cases in the New Orleans area if it is not here already, which I think it might, it’ll be just a matter of time,” Choucino said.

The CDC says 30-60% of people infected by the fungus have died and it has been identified as a “serious global health threat”.

For more detailed information on Candida Auris, CLICK HERE