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Superbug Fungus Has Sickened Hundreds in US, CDC Reports

Most vulnerable are those with weakened immune systems
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2019 6:46 PM CDT
A CDC photo shows a strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish.   (Shawn Lockhart/CDC via AP)

(Newser) – A drug-resistant superbug fungus has sickened nearly 600 people in the US in recent years, half of them in New York, the CDC says. Those with weakened immune systems are the most vulnerable to Candida auris; an elderly man infected last year after unrelated surgery died in the hospital, CBS reports. The CDC has warned hospitals before, and now estimates that 30% to 60% of patients with the infection have died. The CDC expressed concern about Candida auris for three reasons: It's resistant to antifungal drugs that usually are successful in treating Candida infections; it's difficult to identify; and outbreaks have happened in health care facilities. Most cases have surfaced in New York, New Jersey and Chicago.

But Candida auris is a global worry now: The fungus has reached 15 countries, per the Express. Hospitals in India, Pakistan, South Africa and Spain, as well as a neonatal unit in Venezuela, have reported cases. The CDC calls it a serious global threat. For now, generally healthy people who aren't in the hospital don't need to worry. If you're visiting someone in a hospital, Consumer Reports suggests, wash your hands well before you enter their room, and speak up if you see other people are not doing the same. (Read more superbug stories.)

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