A potentially deadly, drug-resistant fungus is spreading rapidly across the United States, with California having the second-most cases of any state last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC announced Monday that the fungus — called Candida Auris or C. auris — has spread at an accelerating rate since it was first discovered in 2016, and the COVID-19 pandemic likely played a role. The agency said the fungus is a “pressing threat” due to its resistance to echinocandins, an antifungal drug used for treatment.
“The rapid increase and geographic spread of cases is worrying and underscores the need for continuous surveillance, expanded laboratory capacity, faster diagnostic testing, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control practices,” said CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman, lead author of a recent publication in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
In the past 12 months, California has seen 359 clinical cases of the fungus, second only to neighboring Nevada, which has had 384 cases, according to the CDC. New York has seen the most cases of the fungus since it was discovered in 2016.
C. auris was found in more than half of the states.
While the CDC said so C. auris is generally not a danger to healthy people, it “can cause serious infections with high death rates”.
It spreads primarily in health care facilities that have poor infection control and prevention strategies in place, the CDC said.
There have been a total of 3,270 clinical cases since the fungus was discovered. Every year the number has increased.
The CDC noted that one possible reason the case numbers are increasing each year is that more people are being screened C. auris than in the past. The fungus may have spread faster during the pandemic when health facilities were stretched.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2023-03-21/deadly-fungus-candida-auris-united-states Potentially deadly fungus spreading rapidly across California