Candida auris is a multidrug resistant pathogen that presents a serious global threat to human health. As C. auris is a newly emerged pathogen, several questions regarding its ecological niche remain unexplored. While species closely related to C. auris have been detected in different environmental habitats, little is known about the natural habitat(s) of C. auris. Here, we explored the virgin habitats around the very isolated Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean for evidence of C. auris.
Researchers sampled coastal wetlands, including rocky shores, sandy beaches, tidal marshes, and mangrove swamps, around the Andaman group of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Union Territory, in India. Forty-eight samples of sediment soil and seawater were collected from eight sampling sites representing the heterogeneity of intertidal habitats across the east and west coast of South Andaman district. C. auris was isolated from two of the eight sampling sites, a salt marsh and a sandy beach. C. auris emerged as a human pathogen on three continents in the early 2010s.
The yeast has since been named a public health threat for its ability to cause dangerous, sometimes fatal infections that are resistant to many antifungal drugs. C. auris spreads between patients — usually those already seriously ill — in hospitals and other health care facilities, causing infections of the bloodstream, gut or other organs. There have been more than 1,600 cases reported in the United States as of January 19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Source: Arora et al. Environmental isolation of Candida auris from the coastal wetlands of Andaman Islands, India. mBio. doi: 10.1128/mBio.03181.20.