Deadly armpit superfungus from Japan has killed eight people in UK hospitals

Deadly armpit superfungus from Japan has killed eight people in UK hospitals

Originally published on the Mirror

Eight people have died in British hospitals as a result of a drug-resistant Japanese superfungus, say reports.

The fungus Candida auris is said to have been found in 25 hospitals in the UK with more than 50 more surviving being infected.

But, according to reports, the infections were not recorded as the cause of death because the patients were already very ill.

A Public Health England spokesman said:  "What seems to make Candida auris somewhat unique is that it spreads so easily from person to person.

“Once in the bloodstream, it circulates and multiplies, causing sepsis [blood poisoning].

“Yeast cells can also deposit in organs [liver, spleen, brain] causing abscesses, or forming vegetations on heart valves.”

It is not known at which hospitals the patients died.

The Mirror previously reported how a study at Oxford University Hospital concluded the fungus spread through underarm thermometers.

Author Dr David Eyre, from the University of Oxford, said: “Despite a bundle of infection control interventions, the outbreak was only controlled following removal of the temperature probes.

“This reinforces the need to carefully investigate the environment, and in particular multi-use patient equipment, in any unexplained healthcare-associated outbreak."

Last year, Porton Down, the UK's chemical weapons testing base, was called in to tackle the bug after 200 people were infected in outbreaks at three hospital trusts.

Superbugs are a result of antibiotics becoming increasingly ineffective, due to bacteria mutating to resist the drugs.

A Government study found that by 2050 10 million people could die across the world from drug-resistant bacteria, if nothing is done to curb the use of antiobiotics.

Antibiotics were invented in the 1940s and provided a treatment for diseases like tuberculosis and pneumonia, saving millions of lives.

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