Fungus Infection Spreads to Almost 600 Victims Across United States

‘Serious global health threat’, say authorities

Over the past few years, a serious global health threat has emerged in the U.S. in the form of a fungus infection.

By February’s end, Candida auris infections were present in a dozen U.S. states. Centered primarily in the New York City/New Jersey and Chicago areas, the fungus, also referred to as C. auris, is resistant to some or all antifungal medicines, which makes it harder to treat according to the CDC.

Out of 587 cases nationwide confirmed by the CDC citing February’s data, New York had 309, more than any other state. Illinois had confirmed 144 cases, the agency said.

New Jersey health officials reported Tuesday that over the last four years the state has 132 confirmed cases and another 22 that are considered probable.

C. auris is particularly dangerous to patients with weakened immune systems or other serious conditions. Over one-third of those with infections has died thus far, according to the CDC.

“It’s taken us all by surprise,” said David S. Perlin, the chief scientific officer of the new Hackensack Meridian Health Center for Discovery and Innovation, in Nutley, NJ.

“We don’t really know why globally this bug has burst on the scene all over the world.” he said. “We’re seeing it in hospitals–we have a problem obviously in New York and New Jersey, but we see it in Spain, the United Kingdom, South Africa, other places.”

The earliest known strains of the virus trace to the Far East in the mid 1990s. But it took until 2016 to reach a level where the CDC asked doctors to report cases.


About The Author