The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a deadly fungal infection is spreading in the United States at an “alarming rate.” The drug-resistant fungus known as Candida auris is a type of yeast that can cause severe illness in some people.
According to a report by NCB News, the number of people diagnosed with infections, as well as the number of those who were found through screening to be carrying C. auris, has been rising at an alarming rate since it was first reported in the U.S. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday that the increases, “especially in the most recent years, are really concerning to us,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Meghan Lyman, the chief medical officer in the CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch, said in an interview. “We’ve seen increases not just in areas of ongoing transmission, but also in new areas.”
The CDC’s new warning, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, comes as Mississippi is fighting a growing outbreak of the fungus. Since November, at least 12 people have been infected with C. auris with four “potentially associated deaths,” according to the state’s health department, Tammy Yates, spokesperson for Mississippi State Department of Health said in an email. -NBC News
“Unfortunately, multi-drug resistant organisms such as C. auris have become more prevalent among our highest risk individuals, such as residents in long-term care facilities,” said Yates.
Transmission is ongoing at two long-term care facilities in Mississippi too. C. auris has now also been detected in more than half of U.S. states, a new study found. The researchers also discovered that the incidence of people not infected with the fungus but colonized by it increased by 21% in 2020, compared to 2019, and by 209% in 2021, with an increase to 4,041 in 2021 compared to 1,310 in 2020.
The fungus can be found on the skin and throughout the body, according to the CDC. It’s not a threat to healthy people, but about one-third of people who become sick with C. auris die.