Victorian man isolated with rare superbug

It is the first locally known case of the fungus, Candida auris, Dr Sutton said.

Dr Sutton said while the elderly man's condition was stable and not "at risk", the threat of infection was still there, so the hospital was treating him in a separate room to prevent further infections.

He added that the patient was a carrier without symptoms and it was likely he had acquired the organism in a British hospital.

Victorian health authorities are on a "search and destroy" mission after a rare fungal superbug, which has previously spread to more than a dozen countries, was found on the skin of a 70-year-old man.

No details were given about when the man was in Britain.

In 2017 at least 55 hospitals in the United Kingdom were hit by the superbug, with more than 200 patients infected.

"We've got no evidence of spread but we're going through a process now of screening a number of his contacts on the wards to see whether there's been any possibility of spread", he said.

First identified in Japan in 2009, the fungus has spread to more than a dozen countries including the United States where it is becoming a menace in hospitals, mostly in NY and New Jersey.

"Candida auris can cause problems in hospitals and nursing homes as it can spread from one patient to another or nearby objects, allowing the fungus to spread to people around them", the department warns. The fungus can infect wounds, ears and the bloodstream.

The uncommon type of fungus, called Candia auris (C. auris), can be particularly hard to treat, unlike other common types of candida infections, which typically cause thrush.

"It means that some people who get invasive infections like blood poisoning may well die from that infection because it's effectively untreatable or very hard to treat".

"Good hand hygiene and cleaning in healthcare facilities is essential because C auris can live on surfaces for several weeks".

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