A loving mother and teacher has died after contracting a drug-resistant superbug that is increasingly prevalent in the US.
Stephanie Spoor, 64, was hospitalized with a sinus infection last November in Barrington, just outside Chicago.
But as the weeks went by, with no signs of progress, it became clear Spoor’s case was hardly something innocuous – and it wasn’t just because of her lupus, an autoimmune disease.
Baffled, doctors sent her to specialist units at Rush University, then Northwestern, the top hospital in Illinois state, the family explained on a GoFundMe page.
It wasn’t until mid-January 2019 that doctors realized Spoor had contracted Candida auris, a harmful form of yeast that is resistant to most drugs, with a 60 percent mortality rate.
She died on February 11, days after one of her sons Zack married his fiancee Carley at her bedside in hospital gowns, the New York Times reported.
Stephanie Spoor (pictured in hospital) contracted Candida auris, a deadly and increasingly ubiquitous superbug, while battling a sinus infection. Days before she passed, her son Zack and his fiancee Carley got married at her bedside (pictured together, right, with Stephanie and her husband Gregory)
‘She was our mother, wife, sister, aunt, nonna, friend, teacher, colleague, confidant, constant-cheerleader, and beacon in a sometimes dark and tumultuous sea,’ one of Stephanie’s sons Jason wrote on the family’s GoFundMe page
C auris, once rare, was first identified in 2009 in Japan.
Between 2013 and April 2017, there had been 66 cases in the US.
Now, there have been 587, with 30 more probable cases.
It has been spreading rapidly across the world, and within the US, hitting New York, Illinois, and New Jersey the hardest (with 300, 144, and 104 infections respectively since 2013).
‘It’s pretty much unbeatable and difficult to identify,’ Dr Lynn Sosa, deputy state epidemiologist of Connecticut, told the New York Times in a feature on the emerging health threat last week.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is most commonly contracted in hospitals.
And that is where medics fear Spoor was infected: likely through a tube which she was hooked up to as her lungs struggled against the infection in December.
It became clear that Spoor would need a lung transplant to recover from the infection, but once she was diagnosed with C auris, that became unlikely.
Though Northwestern told the family that they had drugs C auris would succumb to, nothing seemed to work, and Spoor was not eligible for a transplant until it cleared up.
It was agonizing for the family, who took to documenting everything daily, at Spoor’s request, and sharing their case online to garner support, advice, and funds for their hefty medical bills.
It became clear that Spoor would need a lung transplant to recover from the infection, but once she was diagnosed with C auris, that became unlikely. Though Northwestern told the family that they had drugs C auris would succumb to, nothing seemed to work, and Spoor was not eligible for a transplant until it cleared up. Pictured: Stephanie and Gregory
‘She has always been so private about these things, but at this moment she needs all the prayers and positive thoughts that we can muster,’ one of Spoor’s sons, Jason Spoor-Harvey, wrote on the page on February 1.
‘So, privacy concerns have become secondary to our continued effort to employ all means necessary to help her survive.’
On February 12, the day after Spoor passed away, Jason shared a note.
‘It is with a profound and consuming grief that I share this update with all of you that have been willing to support us and especially my amazing mother,’ he wrote.
‘Unfortunately, yesterday morning my mother lost her fight for some new lungs. The damage done when the Lupus-related autoimmune response targeted her lungs was too much for this otherwise unstoppable woman.
‘She was our mother, wife, sister, aunt, nonna, friend, teacher, colleague, confidant, constant-cheerleader, and beacon in a sometimes dark and tumultuous sea.’