A drug-resistant and potentially deadly fungus has been spreading rapidly through U.S. health care facilities, a new government study finds.
The fungus, a type of yeast called Candida auris, or C. auris, can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems. 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.
The increases, “especially in the most recent years, are really concerning to us,” the study’s lead author, Dr. Meghan Lyman, chief medical officer in the CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch, said in an interview with NBC News. “We’ve seen increases not just in areas of ongoing transmission, but also in new areas.”
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.
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