A wicked, often multidrug-resistant fungus called Candida auris is cropping up at alarming rates, particularly in the New York City area, according to Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The CDC first released an alert on the fungus in June of last year. By August, seven cases were found. Now, 77 infections have been reported to the CDC, with 69 of them occurring in New York and New Jersey. These 77 patients passed C. auris on to 45 people with whom they were in close contact, resulting in a total of 122 cases.
The fungus primarily affects those who are already vulnerable and has been spreading at hospitals and other health-care facilities.
“It seems to affect the sickest of the sick patients, particularly those in hospitals and nursing homes with other medical problems,” the CDC’s Sharon Tsay told CNN.
The fungus was first identified in Japan in 2009 and has appeared in at least a dozen other countries. It earned the designation of a “superbug” by showing resistance to several antifungal drugs, although CNN notes, “most cases that have been seen in the US have been treatable with antifungal drugs.” Still, the CDC is pulling not punches on this one, labeling C. auris “a serious global health threat.”