A potentially lethal fungus known as Candida auris has been identified in at least 61 people in the United States––mostly in New York (39 cases), New Jersey (15 cases), and Illinois (four cases)––as of April 13, 2017, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The disease is certainly of serious concern, with a roughly 60 percent mortality rate and the potential to become widespread throughout the nation’s hospitals. The fungus was first found in a man’s ear in Japan in 2009, according to the CDC.
According to Managed Care Mag, some strains of C. auris are resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs, according to the CDC. This type of multidrug resistance has not been seen before in other species of Candida. Also of concern, C. auris can persist on surfaces in health care environments and spread between patients in health care facilities, unlike most other Candida species. C. auris is also difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods and can be misidentified in laboratories without specific technology.
Candida auris grows as yeast, and symptoms include difficulty swallowing, burning, genital itching and sometimes a cheese-like discharge that looks white, according to the CDC.