05.05.19

SCHUMER URGES FEDS TO DESIGNATE SPREADING & DRUG-RESISTANT SUPERGBUG —CANDIDA AURIS—AN ‘EMERGENCY’; WILL ALLOW FEDS TO DELIVER MORE DOLLARS TO NEW YORK, LONG ISLAND & UPSTATE SO WE CAN BETTER IDENTIFY, TACKLE & TREAT DEADLY FUNGUS; HAS BEEN DONE IN PAST WITH OTHER THREATS LIKE ZIKA, EBOLA

There Is Currently NO Treatment For Superbug Spreading Across New York To More Than 300 People; Schumer Says State, NYC/LI Would Benefit From Fed Boost Of Emergency Response Funding Where Surveillance, Identification, Testing & Treatment Are Still Being Established & Perfected To Address Vexing Bug

Senator Says CDC Can Declare All ‘Superbugs’ As Needing ‘Emergency Response Funding’ Just Like They Did For Zika, Ebola & Other Emerging Public Health Risks; Extra Funds For NY Would Help Rein In Multidrug-Resistant Threats & Amp Up Awareness, Research & Treatment  

Schumer: Feds Must Deliver A Raid Of Resources To Stop This Superbug From Spreading More Across NY

Just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a case count update on New York’s spreading superbug, a multidrug-resistant fungus called Candida Auris, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is revealing the feds can take additional action to make New York eligible for millions more in the fight against the vexing bug giving great angst to hospitals, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities across the State, not to mention the public. Schumer is urging the CDC to designate the spreading and multidrug-resistant fungus an official ‘emergency,’ making New York eligible for special public health crisis response dollars that could stretch into the millions.

“While the CDC is doing a fine job honing in on the threat this superbug presents to New York and the country, said U.S. Senator Schumer, with the wave of a pen, they can help beat back the wave of this fungus’ spread across New York in an even tougher way. And that is what they should do: deliver a new raid of resources to stop this superbug from spreading even more across New York, Long Island and Upstate. They can do it by qualifying ‘superbugs’ for official emergency response funding, adding the category to the federal eligibility list. We have done this successfully for Zika, Ebola, H1N1, the list goes on. The point here is that when you are dealing with a vexing bug like this one, which puts our healthcare facilities and the public on edge, every dollar we can use to better identify, tackle and treat this deadly fungus is a dollar well spent.”

Schumer pointed out that the money for this request is there in the CDC budget. In 2018, for example, Schumer was able to negotiate more than $1 billion dollars in additional funds for the CDC to utilize in his efforts to tackle a slew of public health challenges, including emerging threats like superbugs. According to the CDC, in FY 2018, the agency’s program level funding increased by $1.08 billion from the prior year and the CDC used some of those agency funds to respond to health emergencies.

Schumer points out, the CDC has a history of delivering millions to public health emergencies for the purposes of preparedness and response. As recent as 2016, the CDC awarded $25 million to the Zika fight. In 2014, the CDC awarded about $165 million for the Ebola fight. And in 2009, the agency awarded more than $1 billion for the fight against H1N1. Schumer said his request urges the CDC to add ‘superbugs’ to this same eligibility list, allowing New York and other states to make the case for access to these funds, so they can better identify, tackle and treat these multidrug resistant and tough-to-kill threats.

Schumer also said the CDC has already awarded New York more than $6 million in funding to address Candida Auris, and part of those funds have delivered a CDC expert to the state and two CDC fellows. Schumer also said the CDC has named New York as one of ten sites for the emerging infections program overseen by the Antibiotic Resistant threat team.  

“By making superbugs like Candida Auris eligible for CDC emergency response funding, we can bring even more federal dollars to New York and build the firewall we need to help beat back any additional spread,” added Schumer.

Schumer said, that with the additional CDC dollars he is urging, New York could:

1) Boost state and local testing capacity of the fungus (identify)

2) Invest in more rapid detection technology (identify)

3) Develop a robust public awareness campaign to educate the public (tackle)

4) Invest in fungal disease surveillance and reduce unnecessary antibiotic use in patients that then set the stage for resistance (treat)

Candida Auris, also known as C. Auris, is a fungus that causes serious, “superbug” infections. The fungus, first discovered in 2009, has infected people in over a dozen countries. Prevention and treatment of C. Auris is critical because the fungus is difficult to identify, often misdiagnosed and mistreated, spreads quickly and causes infection. Unlike other fungal strains, C. Auris is resistant to antifungal and antibiotic medication, which is characteristic of a “superbug” and makes this type of fungus extremely difficult to eradicate.

The CDC has determined that any species of bacteria can transform into a “superbug” by misusing antibiotic medication. When an individual fails to finish a prescribed antibiotic or they take the respective medication when it is not needed, they are at risk for contracting a “superbug” infection.

According to the CDC, 2 million people contract resistant bacterial infections every year and 23,000 die as a result of these antibiotic-resistant infections. There are 319 cases of Candida Auris in New York, which is more than half of all confirmed cases in the United States.

The number of confirmed and probable cases of Candida Auris reported throughout the country can be found below:

State

     Confirmed

     Probable

New York

319

4

 

 

 

California

2

0

Connecticut

1

0

Florida

13

0

Illinois

156

4

Indiana

1

0

Maryland

3

0

Massachusetts

7

0

New Jersey

106

22

Oklahoma

2

0

Texas

2

0

Virginia

1

0

TOTAL

613

30

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