CDC: Increase in hospitalizations involving fungal infection

By Brian Ward

Hospitalizations involving fungal infections increased 8.5% each year between 2019 and 2021, according to a new CDC analysis, and was driven primarily by hospitalizations of patients with COVID-19–associated fungal infections. Just as with so many other aspects of public health, the CDC analysis showed that the COVID-19 pandemic had a deleterious impact on fungal infection prevention and mortality.

“COVID-19 infection is a substantial risk factor for certain fungal infections, particularly those caused by invasive molds, likely because of COVID-19–related immune system dysregulation and immunosuppressive therapies, such as corticosteroids or other immunomodulatory medications. US vital statistics data showed that deaths from fungal infections increased during the COVID-19 pandemic,” study authors Jeremy A.W. Gold and company wrote. 

During 2019–2021, a total of 59,212 fungal hospitalizations were identified in the Premier Healthcare Database, Special COVID-19 Release (PHD-SR), the database used by the CDC researchers. It also found that patients hospitalized with COVID-19–associated fungal infections had an in-hospital mortality rate of 48.5%, compared to 12.3% for non–COVID-19–associated fungal infections.

“Our analysis underscores the substantial burden of patient hospitalizations with fungal infections in the United States and indicates that increased hospitalizations involving fungal infections occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, and to increase preparedness for future infectious diseases outbreaks, comprehensive public health surveillance for fungal diseases is needed to characterize disease epidemiology and guide efforts to prevent illness and death,” the researchers wrote.

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Accreditation, COVID-19, Infection Control