Health officials have issued a warning about a drug-resistant, potentially deadly fungus infection that has sickened at least 158 Illinois residents, many of whom are patients at nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
Fungus Infection a “Serious Global Health Threat”
Candida auris, a rare and deadly fungus that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called a “serious global health threat,” first appeared in 2009 in Japan. The disease has since spread to more than twenty countries. Candida auris was found in the United States by May 2013. Since then, at least 613 infections have been confirmed across the country, with most of the cases in New York, Illinois, and New Jersey. Illinois has the second largest number of Candida auris infections, with at least 158 confirmed cases since 2016.
The CDC reports that Candida auris infections have been found in patients of all ages, from infants to the elderly. However, Candida auris largely preys on those with already weakened immune systems. People who have lines and tubes that go into their bodies (such as breathing tubes, feeding tubes, and catheters) and those who have recently spent time in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and hospitals seem to be at the highest risk for Candida auris infections.
The fungus infects the bloodstream and can lead to candidiasis, an invasive yeast-based fungal disease. Left untreated, the fungus infection can be deadly. According to the CDC, 30 to 60 percent of people with Candida auris infections have died, though the agency cautions that many of these people had other serious illnesses that also increased the risk of death.
Diagnosis, Treatment Often Difficult
But treatment may be difficult. While drugs can be used to combat Candida auris infections, the CDC notes that some of these infections have proven to be resistant to all three classes of antifungal medications. In these cases, patients may require high doses of multiple medications to battle the disease.
Further complicating matters is the fact that Candida auris can be difficult to identify properly with standard technology. The fungus is also resistant to the typical cleaning agent used by nursing homes, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities, so it can spread rapidly in these environments through contact with infected patients and contaminated surfaces or equipment.
To halt further contamination, experts say nursing home and hospital administrators need to identify Candida auris infections quickly and adopt new cleaning methods to eradicate the fungus from any rooms or medical devices where it may be found. Failure to do so could expose negligent facilities to nursing home neglect and medical malpractice lawsuits.
What If a Loved One Contracts Nursing Home Fungus?
If a loved one contracts the deadly fungus Candida auris in a nursing home, you may be able to pursue a nursing home neglect lawsuit for damages on his or her behalf. But proving nursing home neglect can be challenging. You must demonstrate that the patient contracted the fungus infection because of negligence or improper treatment by the nursing home staff responsible for the victim’s care. Additionally, identifying all of the parties who may be at fault is crucial. Those who fail to bring their cases within the time specified by law can find themselves forever barred from obtaining compensation for their injuries.
Given these challenges, the families of nursing home neglect victims often benefit from the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney, such as the Illinois nursing home neglect attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers.
With over $2 billion recovered for our clients and more than 40 years in practice, GWC is one of the premier Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. We have the experience, the resources, and the reputation you need to help get you the justice you deserve.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of nursing home neglect, please contact GWC today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys. Call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.