ATLANTA — A potentially deadly fungus is making its way across 19 states, including Georgia.
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the fungus, Candida auris, can easily spread through healthcare facilities and nursing homes and potentially cause a deadly infection.
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Dr. Jayne Morgan with Piedmont Healthcare told Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach that this fungus can put some of our most fragile loved ones at risk.
“It’s actually a type of yeast and tripled in numbers between 2019 and 2021,” Dr. Morgan explained.
She says the concern is that the C. auris fungus can live a long time on surfaces, allowing it to spread easily. It’s also resilient to the most common anti-fungal drugs used to treat infections.
“Doctors and scientists are keeping an eye on it because it is quite unusual,” she said.
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The fungus was discovered in 2016 when 53 cases were reported in the U.S. By 2021, there were nearly 1,500.
According to the CDC, the fungus has a high death rate. They say more than one-third of those infected with C. auris have died, but that is only from a limited study where several patients are also dealing with other serious illnesses.
Experts say most healthy people have nothing to fear. Those most at risk are those who require long-term stays at a healthcare facility or have weakened immune systems.
“People who are healthy will be asymptomatic. People, however, who are vulnerable, who are ill, certainly in nursing homes, we can see the proliferation of this type of fungus in long-term care facilities,” Dr. Morgan said.
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