At least three cases of Candida auris fungus in Singapore since 2012
A hospital here has seen at least three cases of the Candida auris fungus since 2012.
Two Singaporean researchers highlighted the incidents in a letter to a medical journal last July.
The fungus is spreading around the globe, infecting patients in hospitals and nursing homes in countries across continents including in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia.
What makes it deadly is that it is a drug-resistant fungus.
In 2018, two medical experts, Dr Tan Yen Ee and Associate Professor Tan Ai Ling jointly penned a letter to the editor of Annals, Academy of Medicine, Singapore, a local medical journal.
Titled: “Arrival of Candida auris Fungus in Singapore: Report of the First 3 Cases”, they outlined the three cases of C. auris found in Singapore, stressing the emerging fungus was of increasing global concern.
Of the three patients here, one recovered, one died, and another’s condition was inconclusive as the patient had left the country.
The first case was detected in 2012, when a then-52-year-old Singapore-born woman was transferred from India after a road traffic accident.
One of her wounds was infected with multiple organisms including C. auris. She was discharged four months later with the wounds healing well.
Another case involved a 24-year-old Bangladeshi man who flew to Singapore in 2016 to seek further medical management after he had been admitted to three hospitals in Bangladesh.
But he was discharged against medical advice and returned to Bangladesh after 10 days.
The third case involved an American man who was touring Bangladesh in late 2016. He was transferred to the hospital in Singapore, where he suffered complications such as cardiac arrest and brain tissue death.
Tests showed that C. auris was present from the blood culture taken on day nine of admission.
His condition deteriorated rapidly and he died shortly after.
According to the New York Times, the fungus is so invasive that even after the death of a patient in a hospital in the United States, the germ lived on, infecting the entire room.
The hospital needed special cleaning equipment and had to rip out some of the ceiling and floor tiles to eradicate it as everything in the room was positive.
According to the letter in the medical journal here, the three cases all appeared to be imported.
In the letter, the experts warned: “This highlights the need for a screening policy for C. auris in patients transferred from overseas hospitals, especially from countries reported to have this yeast in order to prevent its establishment and spread within the institution.
“With the propensity of C. auris to cause outbreaks in healthcare settings, institutions may have to do risk assessment to consider including this fungus into their screening protocols and further strengthen infection control measures to prevent it from becoming a major global public health issue.”
The New Paper has contacted the Ministry of Health and relevant experts for comment.