DHDTC DAL 17-15 - Candida auris Advisory

September 14, 2017

DHDTC DAL 17-15 - Candida auris Advisory

Dear Chief Executive Officer/Administrator:

On May 5, 2017, New York State Commissioner of Health, Howard A. Zucker, MD., JD., issued a statewide advisory to all hospitals and nursing homes in New York City to be on alert for Candida auris, or C. auris; a yeast that is often resistant to one or more antifungal medications and can cause severe illness or death in patients with serious underlying medical conditions.

C. auris can be spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, or from physical contact with a person who is infected or colonized. Strong infection controls, including proper hand hygiene, use of personal protective equipment, and thorough environmental cleaning and disinfection, are the keys to prevention.

The New York State Department of Health (Department) has conducted multiple training sessions for hospitals and nursing homes and has posted educational materials for clinical staff and environmental services staff at https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/c_auris/. On May 9, 2017, the Department held a round table with leaders from hospitals, long term care, and other professionals to educate them about C. auris prevention. In addition, the Department has been conducting on-site reviews of infection control practices at hospitals and nursing homes where patients or residents with C. auris have been treated and/or are currently residing. We are pleased to report that many facilities have made significant improvements in their infection control practices. However, the on-site reviews have also identified facilities with deficient practices, and we will be sending facilities a copy of their individual findings so that these issues can be quickly addressed.

Importantly, C. auris is a persistent threat, and even in hospitals and nursing homes that have demonstrated acceptable infection control practices, this pathogen has been detected in a wide array of environmental samples taken at facilities that have had a patient with C. auris. Accordingly, the Department advises that you continually monitor your current infection control practices, and increase your efforts to control and prevent the spread of C. auris in your facility by requiring strict adherence to infection control standards and contact precautions.

Our shared goal must be to dramatically reduce the presence of C. auris and eliminate it as a pathogen of substantial concern in New York State healthcare facilities. However, we need your leadership and cooperation to accomplish this.

In the future, the Department will be conducting additional site visits at hospitals and nursing homes that have demonstrated continued difficulty adhering to recognized infection control standards. Unlike our prior visits, these reviews will be unannounced, regulatory in nature, and will result in a formal Statement of Deficiencies should non-compliance with infection control requirements be identified.

Should you have questions, please contact the Division of Hospitals and Diagnostic and Treatment Centers or the Division of Nursing Home and ICF/IID Surveillance at (518) 402-1004 and (518) 408-1267, respectively. Thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this important public health and patient/resident safety matter.


Daniel B. Sheppard
Deputy Commissioner
Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management