YanChun Zhu , Brittany O'Brien , Lynn Leach , Alexandra Clark , Marian Bates , Eleanor Adams , Belinda Ostrowsky , Monica Quinn , Elizabeth Dufort , Karen Southwick , Richard Erazo , Valerie B. Haley , Coralie Bucher , Vishnu Chaturvedi , Ronald J. Limberger , Debra Blog , Emily Lutterloh , Sudha Chaturvedi
December 18 2019
Candida auris is a multidrug-resistant yeast which has emerged in healthcare facilities worldwide, however little is known about identification methods, patient colonization, environmental survival, spread, and drug resistance. Colonization on both biotic (patients) and abiotic (healthcare objects) surfaces, along with travel, appear to be the major factors for the spread of this pathogen across the globe. In this investigation, we present laboratory findings from an ongoing C. auris outbreak in New York (NY) from August 2016 through 2018. A total of 540 clinical isolates, 11,035 patient surveillance specimens, and 3,672 environmental surveillance samples were analyzed. Laboratory methods included matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) for yeast isolate identification, real-time PCR for rapid surveillance sample screening, culture on selective/non-selective media for recovery of C. auris and other yeasts from surveillance samples, antifungal susceptibility testing to determine the C. auris resistance profile, and Sanger sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and D1/D2 regions of the ribosomal gene for C. auris genotyping. Results included: a) identification and confirmation of C. auris in 413 clinical isolates and 931 patient surveillance isolates, as well as identification of 277 clinical cases and 350 colonized cases from 151 healthcare facilities including 59 hospitals, 92 nursing homes, 1 long-term acute care hospital (LTACH), and 2 hospices, b) successful utilization of an in-house developed C. auris real-time PCR assay for the rapid screening of patient and environmental surveillance samples, c) demonstration of relatively heavier colonization of C. auris in nares compared to the axilla/groin, and d) predominance of the South Asia clade I with intrinsic resistance to fluconazole and elevated minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) to voriconazole (81%), amphotericin B (61%), 5-FC (3%) and echinocandins (1%). These findings reflect greater regional prevalence and incidence of C. auris and the deployment of better detection tools in an unprecedented outbreak.