A mysterious and deadly fungal infection that is spreading across the globe, has made its presence felt in South African private hospitals and no one knows how to stop it.
A deadly, drug-resistant fungus called candida auris is spreading around the world at an alarming rate, reported Business Insider.
Hundreds of thousands of people die annually from antibiotic-resistant superbugs – bacteria that evolve so quickly that existing treatments are useless against them. But it’s not just bacterial infections that are spreading, drug-resistant fungal infections have become a problem as well.
In 2009, doctors first found candida auris in the ear discharge of a patient in Japan. Since then, the fungus has spread to numerous other countries, including the US, Colombia, India, and South Korea, according to the US government health authority, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Earlier this year, Professor Nelesh Govender from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases told 702 that the first case was detected in South Africa as far back as 2009. He said some 1 700 cases were detected between 2012 and 2016.
“Candida Auris is found in almost 100 hospitals across South Africa so it is a widespread problem. The vast majority of cases have occurred in Gauteng.”
Govender told 702 that the infection is more prominent in private sector hospitals. “While these hospitals have excellent infection control systems, antibiotics are overused,” he said.
OVER-RELIANCE ON PESTICIDES AND DRUGS CREATES SUPERBUGS
Doctors and researchers are still unsure what causes drug-resistant diseases, but they do know there are different strains of candida auris in different parts of the world, causing them to believe the fungus didn’t come from a single place, The New York Times reported.
Some experts believe heavy use of pesticides and other antifungal treatments caused candida auris to appear in a variety of locations around the same time. In 2013, researchers reported on another drug-resistant fungus called Aspergillus and observed that it existed in places where a pesticide that targeted that specific fungus, was used.
– South Coast Herald