Fungus spreading rapidly in the US considered an "urgent threat" by CDC
Atlanta, Georgia - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is increasingly worried about a deadly type of fungus spreading throughout healthcare facilities in the US.
According to a press release by the CDC published on Monday, a fungus called Candida auris (C. auris) spread at an "alarming rate" over 2020 and 2021, while also showing a worrying resistance to common forms of treatment.
While it does not normally affect healthy people, C. auris poses an increased threat to "those who are very sick, have invasive medical devices, or have long or frequent stays in healthcare facilities," the CDC explained.
The fungus, which can be found on the skin and in the body, was first detected in the US in 2016. By the end of 2021, over 10,000 cases were recorded. More than three quarters were "screening cases," meaning people carrying C. auris without being infected by it.
This trend continued in 2022 as contagion spread throughout healthcare facilities in more than half of US states, making the fungus an "urgent threat."
"The rapid rise and geographic spread of cases is concerning and emphasizes the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control," CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman said.
No, this is not The Last of Us
"Fungus," "rapidly spreading," and "urgent threat" is a combination of terms particularly likely to capture the public imagination these days.
With one reference point from pop culture potentially entering the chat, epidemiologist Dr. Waleed Javaid of Mount Sinai Downtown in New York had one important remark to make.
"We don’t want people who watched The Last of Us to think we’re all going to die," he said, per NBC News. "This is an infection that occurs in extremely ill individuals who are usually sick with a lot of other issues."
Cover photo: IMAGO / Science Photo Library