Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is alerting health
care facilities to monitor for Candida auris, a drug-resistant
fungus that is difficult to diagnose and treat, and often
spreads in hospitals, nursing homes and other health care
you need to know about it.
— What is
A type of
yeast, Candida auris can severely sicken and sometimes kill
patients if it enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout
the body. In addition to bloodstream infections, Candida auris
can also infect the ears and wounds.
The rare fungus
was discovered in 2009.
— Why is it
hard to treat?
often doesn’t respond to common antifungal drugs. It is
difficult to identify in lab tests and can afflict people who
are already sick, so it is also frequently misdiagnosed.
— What are
The most common
symptoms of Candida auris fever and chills that don’t
subside after being treated with antibiotics for a suspected
— How many
cases have been diagnosed in the U.S.?
As of March 29,
the U.S. had recorded 617 cases in 12 states, according to the
CDC. Another 1,056 patients were found to be carrying the
fungus without signs of infection, the CDC said.
Most of the
recent cases have occurred in New York City, New Jersey and
Chicago, according to the CDC
— What about
There have been
only three cases in Maryland since 2016, according to the CDC
and Maryland Department of Health. One case was diagnosed in
2016, with two in 2018, a health department spokeswoman said
in an email. She declined to specify where those cases
— How does it
The fungus can
colonize on patients’ skin and surfaces in health care
facilities, where it can live for a long period of time,
allowing it to spread to new patients. The fungus can spread
from person to person or from a contaminated surface to a
— Who is at
People most at
risk of contracting Candida auris include patients who have
endured long hospital stays, people with compromised immune
systems, those who have a central venous line or other tubes
in their bodies, and people who have previously received
antibiotics for antifungal infections, according to the CDC
and state health department.