On 21 February 2022, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a rapid risk assessment, following an outbreak of at least 277 cases of Candida auris (C. auris) throughout eight healthcare facilities in Laguria, northern Italy, from July 2019 to December 2021. A further 11 cases have been reported in healthcare facilities in the neighbouring region of Emilia-Romagna.
C. auris poses a risk for patients in healthcare facilities across the EU and EEA due to its ability to cause infections in critically ill patients and resistance to several antifungal agents, making infections difficult to treat. Patients hospitalised with severe COVID-19 are at risk of healthcare-associated infections, including candidaemia, and various outbreaks of C. auris among COVID-19 patients have been reported worldwide.
Given the high number of cases, the spread of C. auris to various healthcare facilities in Liguria, interregional spread to Emilia-Romagna and the difficulty to contain the outbreak, the risk of further spread within Italy is considered to be high. As local and national control measures are being implemented, the risk of the introduction of C. auris into other EU and EEA countries from this specific outbreak in northern Italy remains low unless hospitalised patients are transferred from this region. However, given the worldwide spread of C. auris and previous detection of sporadic cases and outbreaks in EU and EEA countries, the likelihood exists that more undetected cases will eventually enter the EU and EEA from regions with less capacity for C. auris surveillance and control, and continued vigilance should be exercised.
Source: ECDC, 21 February 2022