Three known Singapore cases of super fungus Candida auris were treated at SGH
Following reports that cases of super fungus Candida auris have been spreading around the globe, The New Paper reported that there have been at least three cases in Singapore.
Singapore General Hospital (SGH) told TNP that all three cases – which occurred between 2012 and 2017 – were treated there.
Candida auris is resisant to anti-fungal medication and is particulary deadly to patients with weakened immune systems. According to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, kills about half of all its victims within 90 days.
In a statement released on Tuesday (April 9), the local tertiary hospital told TNP: “Each of these cases was transferred from overseas hospitals and were isolated immediately following identification.”
According to Dr Ling Moi Lin, Director, Infection Prevention and Epidemiology, Singapore General Hospital, the current known mode of transmission for Candida auris is by contact transmission and not droplet or airborne transmission.
She added: “Thorough contact tracing was conducted for all individuals who came into contact with the affected patients.”
The Candida auris at SGH were treated with the class of antifungal drug known as echinocandin.
Dr Ling said that as part of an active infection prevention programme, SGH has a rigourous hand and environment hygiene programme.
She said: “Patients carrying resistant organisms such as Candida auris are immediately isolated in the Isolation Ward, and upon discharge, the rooms are subjected to terminal cleaning and disinfection of the environment is carried out with ultraviolet C or hydrogen peroxide vapor treatment.”
Ultraviolet C and hydrogen peroxide vapour are both powerful and well-known disinfection methods, and are highly effective at killing and preventing the spread of multiple-drug-resistant bacteria or super-bugs.
Dr Ling said: “We are constantly on a close look out for any new infectious diseases. We are in communication with the relevant authorities; there has been no outbreak or spread in the community.”
On Monday (April 8), Professor Paul Tambyah of the Department of Medicine, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, told TNP the fungus is not a danger to the general population.
"So far, most of the cases have occurred in patients with weakened immune systems such as very low birthweight premature infants, the elderly who have had complicated surgery, or patients undergoing chemotherapy," he told The New Paper, adding that there is almost no chance of it becoming a Sars-type epidemic.
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