Science & Tech

A deadly fungus is spreading throughout the US: here’s what you should know

CDC Issues Warning After First US Cases of Superbug Fungus Candida Auris …

This is your reminder to wash your hands.

The CDC issued a warning to all US residents on Monday that a deadly, medication-resistant fungus is spreading at an “alarming rate.”

The fungus, called Candida auris (C. auris), spreads easily in healthcare facilities and can cause severe infections with high death rates due to its resistance to multiple antifungal drugs.

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Although the fungus was first discovered in 2009, over the last two years there has been an increase in cases with a dramatic increase in the last year.

In 2021 there were a reported 1,474 clinical cases around the US which was nearly a 200 per cent increase from the number of cases in 2019.

The fungus is now in half of US states with higher concentrations in California, Nevada, Texas, and Florida.

“The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control,” said CDC epidemiologist Dr Meghan Lyman.

While C. auris is still rare in the US, patients in healthcare facilities like nursing homes or hospitals, as well as people who are “very sick” are at an increased risk of developing serious infections.

More than one in three patients with “invasive” C. auris infection die. Invasive means “an infection that affects the blood, heart, or brain.”

However, it is important to note that most people who develop serious infections are already sick.

C. auris is spread person-to-person or from coming in contact with a contaminated surface

The CDC is recommending people practice good hand hygiene, as well as disinfect surfaces frequently especially if a family member has C. auris or is at increased risk of serious infection to prevent the spread of the fungus.

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