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Candida Auris Surveillance

The what and why of C. Auris Surveillance Testing

June 20, 2023 by Jeffery Cuneo

What is it?

Candida auris is a species of fungus that grows as a yeast. It was first identified in Japan in 2009, although the earliest infection is believed to have occurred in South Korea in 1963. Since its identification, unrelated strains of the fungus have been found in multiple countries worldwide including Canada.


C. auris is an emerging pathogen that presents a serious global health threat. It can cause a wide range of infection, including invasive candidiasis. It often multidrug-resistant, meaning that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) recently published interim recommendations for surveillance and infection prevent and control (

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of C. auris infection can vary widely depending on the person and on the part of the body affected. Infected patients usually show fever with chills as symptoms. They appear as wound infections, ear infections and blood infections. A blood infection is the most problematic one.

Surveillance Testing

To perform testing, a e-swab is used to collect from two sources and analyzed to determine whether the patient is carrying the organism without signs of infection. Screening can help identify and control the spread of C. auris, a critical proactive measure as the pathogen can cause serious infections.


Screening for C. auris colonization may be recommended when transmission or colonization is suspected. Screening can be done by using a composite swab of the patient’s bilateral axilla and groin. We perform surveillance using Chromogenic Agar, a type of differential medium that contains chromogenic substrate. It is used to differentiate and identify microorganisms, typically bacteria, and fungi, based on their ability to produce specific enzymes that react with the chromogenic substrate.

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