is a difficult-to-identify, emerging yeast and a cause of sustained nosocomial outbreaks. Presently, not much data exist on laboratory preparedness in Europe. To assess the ability of laboratories in Belgium and Luxembourg to detect this species, a blinded C. auris
strain was included in the regular proficiency testing rounds organized by the Belgian public health institute, Sciensano. Laboratories were asked to identify and report the isolate as they would in routine clinical practice, as if grown from a blood culture. Of 142 respondents, 82 (57.7%) obtained a correct identification of C. auris
. Of 142 respondents, 27 (19.0%) identified the strain as Candida haemulonii
. The remaining labs that did not obtain a correct identification (33/142, 23.2%), reported other yeast species (4/33) or failed to obtain a species identification (29/33). To assess awareness about the infection-control implications of the identification, participants were requested to indicate whether referral of this isolate to a reference laboratory was desirable in a clinical context. Over one-third of all respondents (54/142, 38.0%) stated that they would not send the isolate to a reference laboratory, neither for epidemiological reasons nor for identification confirmation or antifungal susceptibility testing. This comprised 41.5% of the laboratories that submitted an identification of C. auris
(34/82). Awareness among Belgian microbiologists, therefore, remains inadequate more than two years after C. auris
’ emergence in European clinics. Our data confirm high rates of misidentifications with commonly used identification methods. Programs for raising awareness in European hospitals may be warranted.
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