Science and Tech


'Emerging fungal threat' spreading in the US

The CDC says people in health care settings are most vulnerable to contracting candida auris.
Exterior of CDC headquarters.
Posted at 8:43 AM, Mar 21, 2023

A report published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine indicated that cases of a fungal infection called candida auris are spreading at an exponential rate in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people in health care settings are most vulnerable to contracting an infection, which spreads through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, or from person to person.

Candida auris has caused bloodstream infections, wound infections and ear infections. The CDC said it was first spotted in Japan in 2009. Only 63 cases were reported through 2016 in the United States. 

The report, which was prepared by the CDC, found a total of 3,270 clinical cases and 7,413 screening cases reported in the United States through December 2021. 

The rate of the increases was particularly concerning. There was a 44% increase in cases in 2019 followed by a 95% increase in 2021. 

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The report notes that there is not a uniform screening for candida auris, and case counts may actually be higher.

Although there are treatments available, some infections have been resistant to antifungal drugs. 

The CDC said 30%-60% of people infected have died, but stressed that many of those people had other illnesses that increased their risk of death.