What is Candida auris?
Candida auris (C auris) is a type of micro-organism (germ). There are lots of micro-organisms on our skin and in the air we breathe, water we drink and food we eat. Most of them are harmless, some are beneficial and a very small proportion can cause harm.
Candida is a large family of fungi that lives on human skin and inside the body. C auris is much less common than other types of Candida. Some people carry Candida, but do not know because they have no symptoms and it does not harm them. This is known as “colonisation” and we call these people “carriers”.
Candida and other micro-organisms cause problems in hospitals. Complicated medical treatments, including operations and intravenous lines (drips), provide opportunities for micro-organisms to enter the body. Occasionally, a micro-organism can get into surgical wounds or the bloodstream and may cause serious infections that can be life-threatening and require treatment.
How do you test a patient for C auris?
A nurse may take swabs from different parts of your body to check if C auris is present. This may happen before you arrive at the hospital or during your stay.
What will happen if I have a C auris infection or if I am a carrier?
Patients who carry C auris may be treated with antiseptic shampoo and body wash to reduce or remove the micro-organism from the hair and skin. If they have an infection caused by C auris, it is usually treated with antifungal medicines given through an intravenous line (drip).
How is C auris spread and what can be done to prevent it?
If someone has C auris on their hands, they can transfer it to others and objects they touch. This then could be picked up on other people's hands.
To prevent the spread of C auris, we have a number of measures at the Trust put in place the staff follow.
- making sure to wash hands before and after contact with every patient
- screening to identifying patients who are carriers
- using single rooms for patients who are infected with, or are carriers of C auris. If no single rooms are available, patients may be cared for together in a separate bay
- ensuring health professionals wear gowns, gloves and aprons when caring for patients who have infections or are carriers if C auris
- cleaning surfaces and equipment that may be contaminated with C auris.
What can I do to prevent the spread of C auris?
The best way to prevent the spread of C auris is to wash your hands regularly, especially after using the toilet and before eating food. You should also avoid touching any areas of broken skin or wound dressings.
What should visitors do?
C auris does not usually cause infections in healthy people. However, visitors should wash their hands before and after touching patients or anything around the bedside. They may also be asked to wear gowns, plastic aprons and gloves.
What happens after I go home?
If you have an infection, it will be treated before you are discharged. If you are a carrier, no special measures or treatments are required when you go home. If you are admitted to hospital, you should let hospital staff know that you are or have been a carrier.
How can I find out more information?
If you have any questions or concernsabout C auris, you should speak to your doctor or nurse.
Find out more about C auris in our patient’s guide, including:
- how patients are tested for C auris
- what happens if you are infected or a carrier
- how C auris is spread and what can be done to prevent it
Candida auris - a patient's guide - March 2016 (PDF, 162KB)