Issuing a call for instant research into the pathogen, experts have warned the yeast-like fungus, Candida auris, can be fatal. Not only can Candida auris linger on surfaces for a prolonged period of time but it can also withstand almost anything used to eradicate it. And in chilling comparisons with the bubonic plague, it emerges both viruses cause fever, chills and if untreated, bloodstream infections.
The bacteria has set off alarm bells after several hospitals across the world detected outbreaks over the past few years.
Close to 90 percent of all infections caused by the pathogen are now resistant to the mainstay of antifungal drugs used against it.
Epidemiologist Dr Johana Rhodes from Imperial College London, who helped to tackle a similar outbreak in 2016, said the pathogen is incredibly dangerous as it can remain on surfaces for such a long time.
She told the New Scientist: “One of the things that makes Candida auris so scary is the fact it can linger on inanimate surfaces for long periods and withstand whatever you throw at it.”
Those with prolonged exposure to health care settings like hospitals are at serious risk of contracting the virus through equipment.
The infection has been detected in all age groups, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated.
Dr Tom Chiller from the CDC said: “It is a ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’.
On Saturday, the team visited a hospital in Wuhan on Saturday during a tightly controlled visit by Chinese officials.
Despite the need to analyse the virus, the team’s visit will be managed by Chinese officials and they will not be able to have any contact with community members.
The group will visit a seafood market at the centre of the early moments of the outbreak.
They will also visit the Wuhan Institute of Virology which some officials have pinpointed as the centre of the outbreak due to a breach in its safety measures.
That claim has so far been denied by the Chinese government during a period of bickering between Beijing and Washington.
Instead, China has accused other states of harbouring the virus before it became a pandemic across the world.
Team member, Peter Daszak said: “Very important site visits today – a wholesale market first & Huanan Seafood Market just now.
“Very informative & critical for our joint teams to understand the epidemiology of Covid as it started to spread at the end of 2019.”