No other cases of Candida auris infection found at Salem Hospital

OHA continues monitoring for fungus that affected three patients

PORTLAND, Ore. — An Oregon Health Authority investigation of a Candida auris outbreak affecting three patients at Salem Hospital last month has so far found no other cases of the fungal infection.

Investigators with the Healthcare-Associated Infections Program at the OHA Public Health Division say surveillance testing for Candida auris in patients who had been transferred from the affected units at Salem Hospital to other health care facilities – mostly long-term care – has been negative to date. The last round of broad, unit-based testing at the hospital identified no new cases of the infection.

“We are happy to report that as of Jan. 4, the total number of patients in whom Candida auris has been detected remains at three,” said Dat Tran, M.D., medical director for the Healthcare-Associated Infections Program.

He said the program continues to work with Salem Health and the regional public health laboratory, in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to implement additional surveillance testing at Salem Hospital to “increase the level of certainty that there has been no further transmission.”

Meanwhile, Salem Health will continue to provide appropriate interfacility transfer notification communications to receiving health care facilities when discharging patients with unknown Candida auris status from affected units. 

Salem Health has taken a number of additional steps to reduce risk of transmission, including working with patients’ care teams to ensure frequent and effective disinfection of the health care environment; using transmission-based precautions for those infected or colonized with Candida auris; and adhering to hand hygiene protocols.

“No patient harm is acceptable at Salem Health, and we are pleased that our infection prevention protocols are working as intended,” said Jasmin Chaudhary, M.D., medical director of infection prevention at Salem Health. “Though fungi like Candida auris are rare, we are vigilant and prepared to respond when they arrive.”

Candida auris is a type of yeast that can cause severe illness, particularly those suffering from serious medical conditions in hospitals and nursing homes. According to the CDC, patients who have been hospitalized in a health care facility for long periods, have a central venous catheter or other lines or tubes entering their body, or have weakened immune systems are at highest risk of infection and serious complications. The risk of Candida auris infection to otherwise healthy people, including health care personnel, is extremely low.

Since 2013, more than 1,150 clinical cases of Candida auris have been identified in the United States. There have never been any cases of the fungus identified in Oregon until now.

Visit the CDC’s Candida auris website at for more information.