Candida auris (C. auris) is a multi-drug resistant yeast that can cause deadly bloodstream infections and other invasive infections of the body. C. auris infections are on the rise around the world, including the United States where almost 700 cases were reported in 2020 alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1 in 3 patients with C. auris infections will die, making it an important public health threat. C. auris infection is difficult to identify, and patients can remain colonized for months after active infection has resolved. C. auris can spread through contact with affected patients and contaminated surfaces or equipment. It can also survive on hospital surfaces for several weeks, which makes it hard to stop outbreaks.
The CDC provides guidance for handling C. auris outbreaks. Hospitals should report C. auris cases to the health department when infection is suspected and implement infection control interventions to help prevent the spread of C. auris. These include:
- Hand hygiene
- Environmental cleaning and disinfection
- Contact precautions
Family members and those coming in contact with C. auris patients should use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wash hands using soap and water after contact.
Patient rooms should be cleaned and disinfected using a disinfectant that has efficacy against C. auris. Healthcare workers should use personal protection equipment, such as a gown and gloves, when entering a room with a C. auris patient.
Xenex® LightStrike Germ-Zapping™ Robots have proven to kill 100% of C. auris in the environment using 15 minute disinfection cycles at a 2 meter distance. Significant reductions were seen with 10 minute disinfection cycles at 2 meters as well. LightStrike Robots use a Pulsed Xenon lamp to generate broad-spectrum, high intensity germicidal ultraviolet light that destroys multi-drug resistant pathogens such as C. auris. Adding LightStrike to your hospital’s environmental disinfection process could help combat the spread of C. auris in the hospital environment. For example, several hospitals in the northeast have successfully utilized the LightStrike Robots manufactured by Xenex to help enhance their disinfection of C. auris rooms.
Author: Sarah Simmons, DrPH, CIC, FAPIC