‘More infectious than Ebola’: Dangerous superbug yeast troubles researchers

yeast
Image credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[A] yeast, a new variety of an organism so common that it’s used as one of the basic tools of lab science, [has] transformed into an infection so disturbing that one lead researcher called it “more infectious than Ebola” at an international conference [in early July].

The center of the emerging problem is that this yeast isn’t behaving like a yeast. Normally, yeast hangs out in warm, damp spaces in the body, and surges out of that niche only when its local ecosystem veers out of balance.

C. auris breaks that pattern. It has developed the ability to survive on cool external skin and cold inorganic surfaces, which allows it to linger on the hands of healthcare workers and on the doorknobs and counters and computer keys of a hospital room. With that assist, it can travel from its original host to new victims, passing from person to person in outbreaks that last for weeks or months.

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It’s critical that medicine develop better tests and routine practices, and that sluggish development of new antifungal drugs be speeded up.

The most important steps may be the low-tech ones that are hardest to enforce routinely: wearing gloves, wearing gowns, washing hands.

Read full, original post: The strange and curious case of the deadly superbug yeast

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