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Challenges in Identification of Candida auris in Hospital Laboratories: Comparison Between HIC and LMIC

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2020

Sharmila Sengupta
National Center for Infectious Diseases, Singapore
Kalisvar Marimuthu
Tan Tock Seng Hospital
Andrew Stewardson
Monash University
Stephan Harbarth
Geneva University Hospitals
Amanda Durante
University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Sanjeev Singh
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences
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Background:Candida auris is an emerging nosocomial fungal pathogen causing invasive illness and outbreaks worldwide. A major issue regarding C. auris is that it can be misidentified unless appropriate technology is used. We conducted a survey of available methods for identification of C. auris in 21 hospital laboratories in India regarding their protocols for prevention of C. auris infection. Methods: The survey was an adaptation of a similar survey conducted for the Connecticut Laboratory Response Network in 2017. We mailed the survey to 30 microbiologists and ID physicians, and 21 of them from 12 states responded. All respondents were from private acute-care and teaching hospitals. The responses were analyzed and compared to the Connecticut study. Results: Of 21 hospitals, 19 (90.5%) can identify C. auris in house. Also, 18 (85.7%) have identified C. auris in the past 18 months. Species level identification was done only for blood cultures in all hospitals. Only 5 (26%) laboratories speciated Candida spp isolated from other sites such as respiratory and urinary specimens. Automated systems were used like Vitek 2 in 16 (84.2%), Phoenix BD in 2(10.5%) and Microscan in 1(5.26%) laboratory. MALDI-TOF MS and PCR for identification were used in 2 laboratories. Antifungal susceptibility testing is done in-house in 19 (90.5%) laboratories. Only 10 (52.6%) responding hospitals from India had infection prevention protocols for C. auris, and 9 (47.4%) of them isolated patients. The major challenges for infection prevention with C. auris are absence of screening in high-risk patients (66.7%), misidentification by automated systems (84.2%), and inability to speciate from nonsterile sites underestimates the prevalence (100%). Conclusions: There is an urgent need to enhance the capacity of hospital laboratories to detect C. auris early, and to implement infection prevention measures. In both studies early detection is the key and as suggested by the US authors, challenges can be overcome through collaboration between hospitals and referral laboratories when resources are limited. This optimizes laboratory capacity and prevents global spread through colonized patients. The limitation of this study is that data from public hospitals are unknown and larger studies are needed.

Funding: None

Disclosures: None

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