US Fungus Outbreak: Deadly Candida Auris Fungi Spreads in 28 States [CDC Warns]
A deadly fungus is spreading across the United States and has already infected more than half the states, mainly affecting vulnerable or health-impaired patients in medical facilities. US health authorities have identified the Candida auris as the culprit behind the US fungus outbreak.
Candida Auris Fungus
(Photo : RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP via Getty Images)
During a press release on Monday, March 20, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the Candida auris (C. auris) is an emerging fungus species that is an urgent “antimicrobial resistance (AR) threat” which is spreading quickly in US healthcare facilities. The information came from a CDC data published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
The data shows a growing concern in 2021 when the number of antimicrobial-resistant cases of C. auris has tripled. In particular, the pathogen was resistant to echinocandins, the anti-fungal medicine widely used and recommended by health authorities for C. auris infection treatment.
The CDC clarifies the said fungus species is not a threat to healthy people but only to those with severe medical conditions, have medical devices, or have frequent confinement in healthcare facilities, where it can spread easily and cause severe infections with high mortality or death rate.
Also Read: ALERT: Deadly, Highly-Resistant Fungal Infection Reported in 5 States
US Fungus Outbreak
Since it was reported in the US in 2016, Candida auris infections have increased to a total of 3,270 clinical cases (where infection is present) and 7,413 screening cases (the fungus was detected but has not caused any infection yet) as of December 2021, the CDC reported.
CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman, the Annals of Internal Medicine paper’s lead author, stated the rapidly rising cases and geographic outbreak of C. auris is concerning and various measures are needed, including surveillance and quicker diagnostic tests.
The highest spike n cases occurred between 2020 and 2021. Based on a video report by WGN News, the fungus has already spread in 28 states across continental US, including Illinois, citing the CDC warns that the health issue is an “urgent threat.”
What is Candida Auris?
Candida Auris can grow as a yeast and belongs to the genus Candida. As mentioned earlier, very sick people or those with weakened immune systems are vulnerable to the fungus infection called “candidiasis,” according to health authorities.
According to the CDC, Candida typically lives on a person’s skin and inside the body, including the mouth, gut, throat, and vagina, without causing any health problems. However, candidiasis infection takes place if certain conditions change inside the vagina that would drive the fungi’s growth.
Candidiasis, also called as vaginal candidiasis, candida vaginitis, or vulvovaginal candidiasis, are susceptible to fungal growth due to internal changes caused by hormones, medicines, or the immune system, the US health organization adds.
According to Mayo Clinic, the said vaginal yeast infection exhibits symptoms such as discharge, irritation, and intense itchiness of the vagina and vulva, the tissue at the vaginal opening.
Other C. auris-driven infections are described as a severe illness, which occurs once the fungus enters the person’s bloodstream, as well as wound infections and ear infections, according to the health and medicine website News Medical.
Related Article: Deadly, Drug-Resistant Fungus Arrives in US: Fast Facts About Candida Auris
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