LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center has had 122 cases involving the “superbug” that is being monitored by state health officials.
The 122 cases of Candida auris (C. auris) tops a list of 774 cases at more than 39 health care facilities in Southern Nevada where the fungus has been detected, according to information released Tuesday by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
Other care facilities with the most cases include Horizon Specialty Hospital – Las Vegas (97 cases), Kindred Hospital – Las Vegas, Flamingo Campus (72), Horizon Specialty Hospital of Henderson (66) and Valley Hospital Medical Center (60).
A full list of cases and where they were found appears below:
"Our hospitals continue to closely monitor the C. auris situation, follow CDC guidelines and utilize strict infection prevention processes," according to Gretchen Papez of the Valley Health System. "We remain vigilant in the detection and treatment of C. auris through screening, testing, treatment, isolation protocols and room disinfection processes with deep cleaning and UV-C lights. We communicate back results to the referring facility and report to the State and to the receiving facility at the time of the patient’s discharge."
8 News Now has also contacted Sunrise Hospital, Horizon Specialty Hospitals and Kindred for information, and this story will be updated as more becomes available.
"As for the number of reported cases, our hospitals see and treat the patients who come to us or are transferred to us," Papez said. "We work tirelessly to control the spread of diseases and infections and to support public health and safety through infection prevention processes and education."
The superbug -- called so because it's hard to kill with existing drugs -- became the focus of an investigation in Nevada care facilities in April 2022, and health providers were advised of the importance of limiting the spread in hospitals. C. auris is a fungus that is easily spread. It is one of five superbugs identified in 2019 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as "urgent."
"As of April 18, 2022, the Nevada Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) Program has been
investigating C. auris outbreaks in acute care hospitals, long term acute care hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities," according to a technical bulletin published by the DHHS Division of Public and Behavioral Health
An August 31 update indicated 484 cases had been found. The information released today indicates cases have grown by 60% since then, now totaling 774.
8 News Now reported on Monday that the fungus has been found in 63 people who have died in Nevada, but C. auris was not necessarily the cause of any of the deaths.
The California Department of Public Health issued an advisory on Sept. 6 advising care in dealing with patients after two people who were likely exposed in Nevada were identified in California cases.
The timeline for when the fungus was first detected in Nevada is unclear. C. auris was first identified in Japan in 2009. A document from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists indicates that the fungus had infected or "colonized" 700 patients in New York City, New Jersey and the Chicago area as of April 2018.
When COVID-19 hit, C. auris became a secondary concern. But guidelines for Nevada care facilities show that basic disinfecting protocols used by hospitals are the best defense at this point. Hand washing is important, too.
Cases of C. auris are typically designated as "clinical" cases of infection, or "colonization" -- when the fungus is present in a person but has not manifested in an infection.
Of the 63 Nevada deaths linked to C. auris, 45 were clinical cases, 17 were colonization cases and one is unknown. Of the 774 cases, there were 292 clinical cases, 362 colonization cases and 120 unknown.