Candida auris

Candida auris is a yeast that can cause serious to fatal infections in humans. C. auris was first discovered in Japan in 2009 in a swab from a patient’s ear, which gave the yeast its name: auris (latin) = ear [1]. Since then, C. auris has been found worldwide. Infections with C. auris tend to occur in immunocompromised people, while healthy people are often only colonised.

C. auris can be resistant to common antifungal drugs (like fluconazole), which can make treatment more difficult. In addition, the yeast can survive on inanimate surfaces for several days or up to three weeks [2]. This increases the risk of indirect transmission through contaminated surfaces and therefore the German National Reference Centre for Invasive Fungal Infections attributes a special role in transmission to medical devices as well as objects and surfaces in the near-patient area [3]. However, direct transmission via hands is also possible.

In 2022, the WHO classified C. auris in the “critical group” of fungal pathogens. Thus, C. auris is one of the top 4 fungal pathogens with highest priority for research, development, and public health actions [4].

What do the guidelines say?

To prevent the spread of C. auris, strict hygiene measures are required including proper cleaning and disinfection of surfaces and devices. In general, to inactivate yeasts, a yeasticidal disinfectant tested against Candida albicans (e.g., according to EN 13624) is recommended. However, in case of C. auris, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend using a surface disinfectant with efficacy against spores of Clostridioides difficile [5,6], while the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) suggests a disinfectant with fungicidal efficacy [7].

Choosing the right disinfectant

The CDC and ECDC recommendations described above are not substantiated by current scientific literature. Therefore, HARTMANN has tested the two surface disinfectants Mikrobac® forte and Dismozon® plus for their efficacy against C. auris. It was found that the tested exposure times and concentrations, which show a yeasticidal efficacy, are also sufficiently effective against C. auris. C. albicans is thus a suitable representative test organism and the results can be transferred to C. auris as well. In case of an outbreak with C. auris, a yeasticidal disinfectant can therefore be used.

» Necessary spectrum of antimicrobial activity

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  1. Satoh K et al. (2009) Candida auris sp. nov., a novel ascomycetous yeast isolated from the external ear canal of an inpatient in a Japanese hospital. Microbiol Immunol. 53(1):41-4.
  2. Wißmann JE et al. (2021) Persistence of Pathogens on Inanimate Surfaces: A Narrative Review. Microorganisms. 9:343.
  3. Nationales Referenzzentrum für invasive Pilzinfektionen (2019) Kurzinfo: Candida auris, doi: 10.4126/FRL01-006416490.
  4. World Health Organization (2022) WHO fungal priority pathogens list to guide research, development and public health action
    (accessed on 13.04.2023).
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) Candida auris: a drug-resistant yeast that spreads in healthcare facilities: a CDC message to infection preventionists,
    (accessed on 13.04.2023).
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022) Safety considerations when working with known or suspected isolates of Candida auris,
    (accessed on 13.04.2023).
  7. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (2018) Candida auris in healthcare settings – Europe – first update, 23 April 2018. Stockholm: ECDC,
    (accessed on 13.04.2023).
Most yeasts that proliferate by budding or division have a tubular form.

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