First outbreak in Quebec of a deadly super-fungus

Most Hospital employees are unaware that this intruder is present in their facility. According to a public health source, authorities asked those informed to exercise discretion.

candida auris attacks hospitalized patients, primarily those with weakened immune systems or those undergoing surgery or intravenous therapy. An infected person has a 30 to 60% chance of dying.

Outbreak timeline

As early as September 8, the presence of the deadly fungus was suspected in the armpits of a 65-year-old patient treated for pneumonia in Pierre-Boucher. The positive case was formalized on September 15 by the Public Health Laboratory of Quebec.

Then, on September 19, a second case was confirmed. It was another occupant of the same room. He died the next day in intensive care from another cause.

The Pierre-Boucher Hospital is located in Longueuil.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Martin Thibault

What worries the health authorities is that neither of the two patients is returning from abroad. An outbreak declaration was issued on Tuesday to the relevant health personnel.

the CISSS de la Montérégie-Est informed Radio-Canada that three other users of the hospital who had close contacts are under investigation. However, according to our sources, dozens of patients would have been screened, on several units, because they would have had direct or indirect contact with the positive cases.

It worries me a lotsaid a member of the medical staff of the establishment, informed of the situation, who is not authorized to speak about it.

We knew that eventually the candida auris was coming to Quebec, it was a matter of time when you look at what is happening in the United States. I’m just surprised he’s in Quebec so quickly. »

A quote from A member of the medical profession informed of the situation at Pierre-Boucher Hospital

The super-yeast is of growing concern to US health authorities. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have again issued a warning.

In addition to being difficult to detect, candida auris resistance to antifungal treatments. The problem has become endemic in the United States, where more and more cases are being detected in hospitals.

Number of Candida auris cases in the United States from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022.

Number of cases of candida auris in the United States from June 1, 2021 to May 31, 2022.

Photo: CDC

It is difficult to get rid of the fungus on surfaces, up to several weeks. In 2019, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, sections of the walls and ceiling had to be removed and replaced to successfully eradicate the fungus from contaminated parishes.

An article from New York Times (New window) reported that everything was positive VS auris around infected patients: telephones, doors, handles, mattresses, windows, etc.

Increased precaution in Pierre-Boucher and in another hospital

the CISSS of Montérégie-Est ensures that septembre, auprès des cas suspectés et des contacts étroits”,”text”:”des mesures de précaution additionnelles ont été mises en place dès le 8septembre, auprès des cas suspectés et des contacts étroits”}}”>additional precautionary measures were put in place as of September 8, with suspected cases and close contactswhich have been isolated.

From September 15, when an outbreak was suspected, measures were added such as wearing masks, gowns and gloves, as well as using chlorine products to disinfect surfaces.

Since September 8, the care teams concerned have been kept informed of the measures to be applied. […] Additional information on the candida auris were sent to the staff concerned on 13 September. »

A quote from Caroline Doucet, spokesperson for the CISSS de la Montérégie-Est

According to our sources, the Anna-Laberge Hospital in Châteauguay is also the subject of increased surveillance, because the first positive patient spent a day there this summer.

Attendants in a hospital hallway

According to the INSPQ, Quebec had in the past experienced only three isolated cases of candida aurisall patients returning from abroad.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

The National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) is used in this file, alongside the Department of Health and Social Services. According to’INSPQQuebec had in the past experienced only three isolated cases of candida aurisall patients returning from abroad (Africa and the United States).

It is therefore the first time that Quebecers have been infected without having stayed outside the country.

Only one outbreak had been reported in Canada previously, in British Columbia, for a total of 37 cases in the country since 2012, including the latest in Longueuil. These are mainly people returning from medical tourism trips abroad.

Climate change is intensifying candida auris

Studies have shown that the super fungus adapts to higher temperatures. This heat tolerance could contribute to its emergence as a fungal disease in humans.

Researchers from the United States and the Netherlands suspect that global warming could contribute to the spread of this infection.

Some scientists even believe that the expansion of VS auris could be linked to the massive use of fungicides in agriculture.

A microscopically magnified stump of a fungus.

A strain of candida auris

Photo: Reuters

The unwanted fungus is the perfect example of one of the great threats to humanity listed by the World Health Organization (SGD): resistance to consider, whether from bacteria, viruses or fungi.

Growing problem could kill 10 million people worldwide by 2050, study finds (New window) funded by the UK government, more than annual cancer deaths.

Leave a Comment