Experts warn of the increasing spread of the fungus and pathogen Candida auris in Germany. Here are the answers to the six most important questions.

“Candida auris is a pathogenic yeast fungus that is widespread worldwide and can cause invasive candidiasis (= fungal infection) in the blood, heart, central nervous system, eyes, bones and internal organs.” These are the words used by the World Health Organization (WHO) to describe the yeast fungus is currently spreading in more and more countries worldwide. The experts have classified him as an “urgent threat”.

But what actually makes him so dangerous? What symptoms occur and how can I protect myself? Answers to the most important questions.

First of all, the fungus generally does not harm healthy people. You can become infected on the skin and other parts of the body without getting sick. This usually also applies to medical staff. Experts speak of “colonization” in this case.

However, it becomes problematic when it affects people whose immune systems are weakened. For example, due to certain pre-existing illnesses. If the fungus gets into the body, it can cause serious illnesses and affect several organs.

It becomes particularly dangerous when C. auris enters the bloodstream. There it can cause blood poisoning. The symptoms of the third most common cause of death in Germany are diverse and often difficult to assign. These include fever, acute confusion, shortness of breath, low or falling blood pressure and rapid pulse. Sepsis is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately. Every hour without medical care increases the risk of death by seven percent.

“Our experience shows that any infection with C. auris is difficult to treat and potentially life-threatening for patients,” said microbiologist Alexander Aldejohann from the University of Würzburg to “RND”. As the WHO writes, the probability of dying after an infection of the internal organs is between 29 and 53 percent.

What makes C. auris particularly dangerous is that there are hardly any effective antidotes. Because the pathogen is considered multi-resistant. This means: The fungus can develop resistance to all available antifungal agents. And there are only a few of them. This makes treatment more difficult.

People who need complex medical care – with invasive medical devices such as breathing tubes, feeding tubes, venous catheters or bladder catheters – are particularly at risk.

Healthy people without these risk factors, including healthcare workers and family members, are at low risk of becoming infected with C. auris.

Symptoms after infection with C. auris vary. According to the portal “”, they can resemble complaints that are associated with infections with other fungi or bacteria. This is what the fungus can do, among other things


C. auris is transmitted via so-called smear infections. Means: Someone who is sick or just colonized can transmit C. auris to surfaces or objects they come into contact with. If another person then touches these surfaces, they can become infected. The pathogen does not spread through the air, such as the coronavirus.

In general, C. auris does not pose a threat to healthy people. In clinics or when visiting sick people, you should still use alcohol-based hand disinfectants and wash your hands – ideally before and after entering a patient’s room and before and after using them have come into contact with the patient or their medical devices.

C. auris is spreading rapidly in Germany. In 2023 it was detected 77 times nationwide. This is six times more common than in previous years, according to the analysis by the National Reference Center for Invasive Fungal Infections (NRZMyk). So far, the reference center is not aware of any deaths in Germany that can be directly attributed to an infection with the yeast fungus.

Experts expect a further increase in the number of cases in Germany. They recommend a general reporting requirement for any laboratory evidence in order to slow the spread of the fungus.

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