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A ‘perfect storm’ superbug: How an invasive fungus got health officials’ attention

These days the term “superbug” is tossed around often. But on the ever-growing list of bad bugs, C. auris is one of the most unsettling.
Positive (left) and negative (right) patient colonization swab assay for Candida auris.

Try as they might, the infection control specialists at Royal Brompton Hospital could not eradicate the invasive fungus that was attacking already gravely ill patients in the intensive care unit.

Enhanced cleaning didn’t stop the dangerous bug from spreading from one patient to the next in the 296-bed hospital. Neither did segregating infected patients, to keep them from spreading the fungus.

Eventually, officials who run the Royal Brompton, located a couple of miles from Buckingham Palace in London’s tony Chelsea neighborhood, resorted to a last-ditch move no hospital ever wants to have to take. They temporarily shut their ICU. That appears to have put a stop to the more than year-long outbreak, which ended last year and which involved at least 50 patients.

The lengths to which the Royal Brompton was forced to resort to rid the hospital of Candida auris — a member of

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