A dangerous fungal infection is rapidly spreading in the United States

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(ORDO NEWS) — Cases of the fungus have tripled in the U.S. in just three years, according to a new study. More than half of the states reported it.

The COVID-19 pandemic likely contributed in part to the rise in cases, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) write in an article published on Monday by the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Healthcare workers have been more busy with coronavirus patients, they said, and this has likely diverted their attention from some other types of microbes.

The fungus Candida auris is a form of yeast that is not usually harmful to healthy people, but can be deadly to frail patients in hospitals and nursing homes.

A dangerous fungal infection is rapidly spreading in the United States 2
Microscopic view of Candia auris

It spreads easily and can enter the body through wounds, the ears, and the bloodstream.

Some strains are so-called superbugs that are resistant to all three classes of antibiotics used to treat fungal infections.

The fungus was first reported in Japan in 2009 and has since been seen in other countries. The first US case occurred in 2013 but was not reported until 2016.

US health officials reported 53 cases that year.

The new study found that the number of cases continues to rise, rising to 476 in 2019, to 756 in 2020 and then to 1,471 in 2021.

Doctors have also found the fungus on the skin of thousands of other patients, suggesting that it continues to spread.

The authors noted that many of the first cases in the US were infections that were imported from abroad, but now most infections are spreading within the US.


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