Vegas News

Nevada hospitals with ‘superbug’ outbreaks identified

The state health department late Thursday identified the 19 hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities in Southern Nevada that have reported cases this year of a drug-resistant “superbug” that can result in serious illness and even death.

The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services did not specify which facilities had ongoing outbreaks of the Candida auris fungus, saying the state and federal investigators were still making this determination, nor did it specify how many cases had been identified at each facility.

It disclosed there have been 14 deaths in patients, “but it is unclear at this time if the deaths occurred due to the patient having a C. auris infection or other medical conditions,” department representative Dawn Cribbs said in an email.

The health department launched an investigation of outbreaks of C. auris in mid-April. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has deployed a team that is at health care facilities this week assisting with the investigation.

C. auris, which spreads easily through contact with contaminated surfaces, can cause bloodstream infections and even death, particularly in hospital and nursing home patients with serious medical problems. More than 1 in 3 patients die who have an invasive C. auris infection, such as one affecting the blood, heart or brain, according to the CDC.


The state’s list of facilities, provided in response to requests from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, includes 10 acute-care hospitals: Centennial Hills; Desert Springs; Henderson; MountainView; St. Rose Dominican, San Martin campus; Spring Valley; Summerlin; Sunrise; University Medical Center; and Valley hospitals.

It identifies four specialty hospitals: Horizon Specialty-Henderson; Horizon Specialty-Las Vegas; Kindred Flamingo; and Kindred Sahara.

And it identifies five skilled nursing facilities: College Park Rehab; Kindred Flamingo; Silver Hills Healthcare Center; Silver Ridge Healthcare; and St. Joseph Rehab.

Reached late Thursday, a representative of the Valley Health System said the hospital group responded immediately to the threat of the fungus.

“As soon as we became aware of the presence of Candida auris (C. auris), we began taking immediate precautions with surveillance and/or culture testing, patient safety processes, and enhanced cleaning protocols,” representative Gretchen Papez said in an email. “The Valley Health System hospitals use enhanced cleaning protocols when a patient who was in isolation is discharged (i.e. patients with superbugs). Those rooms and equipment are disinfected using bleach and ultraviolet light technology.”

All six of the hospitals in the Valley Health System, the largest hospital group in Southern Nevada, are on the list.

St. Rose Dominican has identified only one case of C. auris, in March at its Siena, not San Martin, campus, representative Gordon Absher said Thursday night.

A representative of UMC said this week that the county hospital had identified a “cluster” of cases and that it was guiding its clinicians “through the necessary infection control procedures to maintain the health and safety of our patients and caregivers.”

A representative of the Sunrise Health System, whose Sunrise and MountainView hospitals have reported cases, said this week that the hospital group “continues to work with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC on understanding and addressing this emerging disease across Las Vegas healthcare settings.”

Administrators with the speciality hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities could not be reached after hours.

From Jan. 3 to Monday, 73 clinical cases of C. auris were identified and 92 cases in which the individuals were “colonized” with the fungus but did not have an active infection, according to the state. Colonized individuals have no symptoms of infection but have the fungus somewhere on their bodies, allowing them to spread the disease.

In 2021, there were nearly 1,300 reported confirmed or probable cases of C. auris, according to CDC data, with cases in the low triple figures in California, Florida, Illinois and New York. Nevada had two reported cases last year.

Candida auris, first identified in Japan in 2009, is a serious global health threat, according to the CDC. Once rare, the infection has become more common and is often resistant to multiple drugs typically used to treat Candida infections. Some of its strains are resistant to all types of antifungals.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Contact Mary Hynes at [email protected] or 702-383-0336. Follow @MaryHynes1 on Twitter.

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