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Rare fungal infection found in RGH patient

Apr 28, 2017

Credit rochesterregional.org

A “superbug” fungus is beginning to appear in hospitals around the country, and one case has been documented in Rochester.

A patient at Rochester General Hospital in March was admitted showing symptoms of sepsis and technicians later found signs of the Candida Auris fungus present.

Candida Auris is a rare fungal infection, first identified in Japan in 2009. 44 cases have been detected in downstate New York; this was the first case presented upstate.

Melissa Bronstein, Infection Prevention director at RGH says once detected, the patient - who originally had a roommate - was isolated and anyone entering the room was required to wear a gown, gloves and follow strict hand hygiene guidelines, as recommended by the CDC.

"The CDC also recommends a special cleaning agent, a sporicidal cleaning agent. And coincidently that’s an agent that here at Rochester General we use routinely for all patient room cleaning. So we felt very well prepared to manage this organism."

The patient died a few weeks later due to several complex medical issues. The roommate did not contract the infection.

Bronstein says the hospital has also done surveillance culture testing to detect any signs of transmission.

"The only positive cultures we found were from the patient who presented the infection, and the only environmental cultures we found from the first round of testing were in areas we expected to find contamination such as the patient’s room."

Bronstein says the risk to the general public is very low.

The last round of testing done since the patient was discharged from the hospital shows no signs of the organism.