Infectious Disease

C. auris isolated from the environment for the first time

April 10, 2021

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Casadevall reports provide assistance from the NIH. Chowdhary does not report any relevant financial information. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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The researchers isolated Candida auris from a salt marsh and sandy beach in the Andaman Islands, suggesting that it existed as an environmental fungus before it was recognized as a human pathogen.

C. auris was first clinically isolated from a patient in Japan in 2009, although the earliest known strain dates back to 1996. It is a major cause of hospital outbreaks around the world, including the US.

Photo of Candida auris

Multi-resistant and multi-resistant C. auris was isolated from a salt marsh and a sandy beach in the Andaman Islands.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock.

“This yeast has been in a clinical setting for nearly two decades, but its natural reservoir in the environment was unknown.” Anuradha Chowdhary, MD, PhD, Healio said, a professor of medical mycology at the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, University of Delhi.

“The most closely related species of C. auris have been isolated from a variety of marine and land environments alongside human sources. So we decided to explore the marine environment to see if it was present in the natural environment, ”said Chowdhary.

Anuradha Chowdhary

Chowdhary and colleagues studied the coastal wetlands – including rocky shores, sandy beaches, tidal swamps, and mangrove swamps – around the Andaman group of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India. In total, they collected 48 samples of sediment soil and seawater at eight sampling points.

Overall, C. auris was isolated from two of the eight sampling sites, a salt marsh with no or limited human activity, and a sandy beach with human activity. The researchers reported that both multidrug-resistant and multidrug-resistant C. auris isolates were found in the samples, and analysis found that they were similar to other isolates from South Asia.

The researchers said the discovery “suggests [C. auris’] Association with the marine ecosystem ”and that the fungus can survive in harsh wetlands. The implications for human infections “remain to be explored,” they wrote, but experts in the field hailed the finding as a milestone.

“This groundbreaking discovery is crucial for understanding the epidemiology, ecology and development of C. auris as a human pathogen.” Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, The Chair of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and colleagues wrote a related editorial.

References:

Arora P et al. mBio. 2021; doi: 10.1128 / mBio.03181-20.

Casadevall A et al. mBio. 2021; doi: 10.1128 / mBio.00360-21.

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