C. auris: Deadly, drug-resistant fungus spreading at alarming rate, CDC says

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday that a deadly fungus that spread at an alarming rate during the COVID-19 pandemic is an urgent antimicrobial resistance (AR) threat. 

The fungus, called candida auris, is resistant to several medications and is generally not a threat to healthy people. 

However, for those with weaker immune systems, this fungus can cause severe illness and possibly death. 

More than one in three patients with invasive C. auris infection die, the CDC said.

Dr. Stephanie Silvera, an epidemiologist and professor at the Department of Health at Montclair State University, said people who live in nursing homes and have been in hospitals for long-term care are most at risk. 

"What's most concerning, what the CDC is most concerned about, is really the increase in multidrug resistant forms of this fungus," Silvera said. 

"What we really need to be aware of is that individuals who are immunocompromised, who are already at risk when they go into a hospital setting, they need to be taken care of. And so we need to do our best. Right now, the best thing we can do is what we do for pretty much any other infectious disease that we've been dealing with it, which is washing our hands and being very mindful of who we come in contact with," she added. 

The fungus is particularly difficult to identify, according to the CDC, and could potentially be misdiagnosed, causing the patient to get the wrong treatment. 

"We are seeing this mostly in health care settings, that is people who may have been in a health care facility, nursing homes for a long period of time," Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a family physician and professor at Rowan-Virtua school of Osteopathic medicine, told FOX 5 New York. 

"Those who might have catheters or IV lines tend to be at highest risk along with those who have a weakened immune system," Caudle said.