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New Fungus Outbreak In US Alerts CDC

First Posted: Mar 13, 2017 05:37 AM EDT
Candida Auris
Representation of Candida Auris.
(Photo : Science and More/YouTube screenshot)

Last year's deadly fungus outbreak sees its first cases of infection in the United States. The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention has alerted citizens of the risks, considering the dangers posed by it.

According to Pulse Headlines, nearly three dozen people have been reported to have the infection called Candida Auris in the last few days. This is alarming officials as it is known not only for being deadly but for being drug-resistant as well. The virus, which had been registered in 2009, spread from Japan to other parts of the world including Colombia, Israel, India, Kuwait, Kenya, Pakistan, Venezuela, South Korea and even the United Kingdom.

The disease is said to present itself with severe bloodstream infections, including ear infections as seen in one of the first patients in Japan. Unlike garden variety yeast infections, the Candida Auris is especially dangerous as the disease spreads easily from person to person and is said to be very resistant to drugs. Of the number of cases registered with the infection, only 40 percent of patients has survived.

The Washington Post reported that those considered as the greatest risks are those individuals who have been in intensive care for a long time or those who are on ventilators or have central line cathethers. In the United States, most of the infections have been reported in New York, with at least 28 cases to date. However, infections have also been reported in Illinois, Maryland, Massachussetts and New Jersey.

Of the first seven cases reported to the CDC last fall, four of the patients have been said to have bloodstream infections. However, it remained unclear whether or not all of the deaths were caused by the infection or by other diseases, as all four individuals also had other serious medical conditions.

There does not seem to be any new strains of the virus in the United States. However, Tom Chiller, a fungal expert from the CDC, said that this is also due to the fact that the country does not have any "homegrown" strains yet. He added that this especially gives them a "better opportunity to contain it and stop it from spreading."

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