Screening Rates for Candida auris Are Low in U.S. Hospitals, According to New Study

March 11, 2024
The pathogen can cause severe illness and is contagious, leading researchers to urge higher screening rates

Screening rates for Candida auris are low at U.S. hospitals, according to a survey of infectious disease (ID) practitioners reported in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

The survey “included questions about whether C auris screening was performed in the respondent’s facility, whether patients were screened on admission or once they were already in the facility, the number of screening tests conducted, and the number of cases identified.” Areas were also placed into tiers depending on how frequently identified or endemic C auris is there.

253 responses were received; 119 (47%) were from tier 3 or 4 areas, or places where C auris are frequently identified or endemic, and 134 (53%) were from tier 2 areas, or places where it was non-endemic. 37% of respondents reported that C auris screening was “conducted in their facility, with more respondents from tier 3 or 4 areas reporting screening than those in tier 2 areas (59% vs 17%).” Among those who screened for the pathogen, 77% of respondents “reported screening on admission, and 51% reported screening patients already in the facility. Screening on admission was higher in facilities in tier 3 or 4 areas than in tier 2 areas (84% vs 55%).”

68 of the respondents reported positive cases detected in the previous year; 75% of those reported identifying more than one case, and 37% reported more than five cases. These results underscore the importance of screening in the first place.

C auris is a fungus, first identified in the United States in 2016, considered a “serious health threat because it can cause severe illness, spreads easily among patients in healthcare settings and is difficult to eradicate.” It is also “frequently resistant to antifungal treatment.” According to the authors of the study, the low reported rates of screening are concerning.

CIDRAP’s website has the release.