A MUM has died after catching a new killer fungal bug that experts warn is sweeping the globe.
Stephanie Spoor was taken to hospital last November suffering with what she believed to be a sinus infection.
But after three weeks it became clear the treatment wasn’t working as the 64-year-old, from Chicago, Illinois, continued to deteriorate.
The former teacher was moved to intensive care at Rush University Medical Centre where doctors discovered she had contracted Candida auris – a drug-resistant infection.
The newly-discovered germ can remain on people’s skin for a long time and can be spread indirectly between those with weak immune systems.
Most worryingly of all is that 90 per cent of C.auris strains are resistant to at least one anti-fungal drug – leaving doctors with few treatment options.
‘It was like a laboratory’
Stephanie’s husband Gregory Spoor, 67, was told the infection appeared to have entered her bloodstream through a catheter or other intravenous line during treatment, the New York Times reported.
Their son Nicholas, 40, said the day she was diagnosed with C.auris, he noticed medical staff in full protective aprons and gloves.
He said they were using bleach to wipe off their feet as they entered and left the room and that everything had a “white glaze” from the chemicals used to clean it.
“It was like a laboratory,” he told the Times.
Keeping up hope
The family remained hopeful as they were told the strain had been susceptible to the hospital’s drug treatment and they “expected it to clear up”.
But despite their efforts to furiously treat the fungus, it kept growing back.
Stephanie sadly died on February 11 – days after her son Zack married his fiancee Carley at her bedside in protective hospital gowns.
Her death certificate states her cause of death as respiratory failure, the newspaper reports.
What is Candida auris?
Candia auris is a fungus that, when it gets into the bloodstream, can cause dangerous infections that can be life-threatening.
People with weak immune systems, especially those who are already sick, the elderly and newborns.
It was first identified in a patient in Japan in 2009.
C.auris can be resitent to the major anitfungal drugs, meaning it could be fatal in some cases.
Nicholas said: “It [C.auris] was something that we didn’t even know was out there, and then it happened and it was one of the major reasons she died.”
Rush University Medical Centre, formerly known as Northwestern Memorial Hospital, declined to comment on the case.
The family, who had set up a GoFundMe to raise funds for her treatment, paid tribute to her on the page.
They said: “She was our mother, wife, sister, aunt, nonna, friend, teacher, colleague, confidant, constant-cheerleader, and beacon in a sometimes dark and tumultuous sea.”
Killer bug’s spread
Over the last five years, C.auris has struck medical centres around the world, including a neonatal unit in Venzeuala and a hospital in Spain.
It reached the UK in 2015, with the intensive care unit at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London being forced to close for 11 days after an outbreak.
The most recent Public Health England figures show that more than 200 patients across 20 separate NHS Trusts in Britain have been infected with C.auris.
In the US there has been 587 reported cases, mostly in New York, New Jersey and Illinois, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added C.auris to its list of “urgent threats”.
A study published last year in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases found 45 per cent of patients died within 90 days of being diagnosed with the infection.
Nearly all of the samples from the 51 patients in facilities in New York City were resistant to fluconazole, a commonly used anti-fungal drug.
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