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What To Know About The Hospital Deaths Tied To Drug Resistant Infections

Shawn Lockhart/CDC via AP

This undated photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at a CDC laboratory.

Shawn Lockhart/CDC via AP

The stories are dire: people getting very sick and dying of drug-resistant fungal and bacterial infections in hospitals and other health care settings. On top of that, these infections are sometimes hard to identify. On top of being hard to identify, they are often resistant to multiple drugs, making them hard to treat. And on top of that, you don’t always know where the fungus or bacteria may be present. So, how widespread is the problem? CapRadio’s Randol White finds out from UC Merced professor, Miriam Barlow.

Candida auris, or C auris, was first identified in a patient’s ear in Japan in 2009. In fact, auris is Latin for “ear,” which is where the infection was first found. The scary part is that, because C auris is sometimes hard to identify, it is sometimes misdiagnosed. And, even if it isn’t, the difficulty in treating it, particularly in patients with preexisting medical issues, makes these patients even more vulnerable.

This situation is complicated further by the inability to find out if a given hospital or other health care setting has had an outbreak, making it hard to know if you might, in fact, be putting your health at risk when you go to get treated. This makes the public health implications of drug-resistant fungi and bacteria especially concerning.

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