More than 200 patients in England have been infected or contaminated with a drug-resistant fungus first found in Japan, health officials have confirmed. Hospitals are on the lookout for further cases and are putting in place measures to help control any further spread of the fungus, Candida auris. Public Health England says in some cases patients will have no symptoms, but the infection can cause serious bloodstream and wound infections.  So far, no UK patient has died from it. The first UK case emerged in 2013. Since then, infection rates have been going up – although it remains rare.  Candida auris is proving hard to stop because it has developed some resistance to the drug doctors normally use against it. As of July 20, NHS trusts and independent hospitals in the UK had detected Candida auris.  More than 35 other hospitals have had patients known to be colonised with Candida auris transferred to them. Three hospitals have seen large outbreaks that have been difficult to control, despite intensive infection prevention and control measures.  Two of these outbreaks have been declared over, and Public Health England says the third is seeing significantly fewer new cases. Dr Colin Brown, from Public Health England’s national infection service, said most of the UK cases had been detected by screening, rather than investigations for patients with symptoms. But 27 patients have developed bloodstream infections. “Our enhanced surveillance of this uncommon fungus shows that in the UK it has mostly been detected in colonised patients, with a quarter being clinical infections.  “The hospitals that have seen the most cases of Candida auris in the UK have not found it to be the cause of death in any patients.”

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