US states hardest hit by the deadly fungus Candida auris have been revealed in a DailyMail.com interactive map.
It shows how the microscopic yeast strain, also known as C auris, has been detected in over half of American states since first emerging in the US in 2016.
The highest counts are in the country’s major coastal cities. New York state is the worst hit, with 1,325 cases since 2016, followed by Illinois with 1,044 cases, and California with 813 cases.
Next up is Florida which has recorded 683 cases, New Jersey (419) and Nevada (408), based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2013 and 2022.
It comes after health officials issued a warning about C auris on Monday, flagging that the hospital infection had tripled in recent years and grown resistant to multiple drugs.
C auris infections have been growing rapidly recently, and cases in the US rose from 1,310 in 2020 to 4,041 in 2021. Last year, there were 5,754 cases.
The CDC does not keep track of how many people died from C auris and it can be tricky to know if patients died from the fungus as it usually infects people who are already very ill.
CDC data shows fungal infections caused 7,000 deaths in 2021 in the US and 1.5million worldwide.
The hardest hit states are the ones with the highest number of hospitals — the breeding ground for C auris.
The fungus does not form germ tubes and is rarely detected in the natural environment.
Most transmission occurs in healthcare facilities, especially among residents of long-term care facilities or among persons with indwelling devices or on mechanical ventilators.
Healthy people do not usually get sick, but among the frail and vulnerable, it kills up to 60 percent.
People catch the C auris by touching an infected person. C auris may also be passed on by touching contaminated surfaces or equipment, where it can survive for weeks.
C auris is a microscopic yeast strain, which has now been detected in over half of American states
Most transmission of C auris occurs in healthcare facilities, especially among residents of long-term care facilities or among persons with indwelling devices or on mechanical ventilators
C auris can also live on the skin or other parts of the body such as the ear or wounds without causing an active infection and making you ill.
But in some patients, the fungus can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, resulting in potentially fatal invasive C auris infections such as in the blood or internal organs.
This usually occurs when a medical device is inserted into the skin or gastrointestinal tract, such as a catheter or an IV.
The fungus kills more than one in three people with invasive C auris.
C auris emerged over a decade ago in hospitals in India, South Africa and South America simultaneously. Researchers do not know why but speculate that climate change could have played a part.
Fungi usually cannot tolerate the warmer temperature of the human body, but scientists think C auris might have adapted to survive in a warming climate.
The spreading fungus is eerily similar to the hit HBO show ‘The Last of Us’, where a real-life cordyceps fungus evolved due to global warming to infect people, control their minds and turn them into bloodthirsty zombies that see vines explode out of their bodies and infect others.
Three years after the fungus was first reported in the US, the CDC gave the fungus its top level of concern rating because it is frequently multi-drug resistant, is passed on easily in healthcare settings and can cause serious infections with high mortality rates.
Cases have more than tripled across the US between 2020 and 2021, with multidrug-resistant strains also becoming more common. Six states reported their first C auris case in 2022.
The map shows how 36 states have reported cases of the fungus since it was detected in US in 2016.
Last year, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Delaware, and Hawaii all reported their first cases of C auris.
Lots of the early cases of C auris in the US were imported from abroad, but the majority of the cases in recent years have been due to local transmission.
Three states — Oregon, Minnesota and Michigan — all reported their first case of the fungus in 2021.
Meanwhile, areas with previous cases but limited spread, such as California, Texas and Florida, have seen new and increasing transmission over the past couple of years.
The main symptoms of the fungus are fever and chills which do not improve. The fungus can cause many different kinds of infection, such as in the bloodstream, wounds or ears.
Transmission has been largely driven by a lack of infection prevention and control practices in hospitals.
Cases of the fungus resistant to the antibiotic echinocandin have also risen — in 2021 there was about three times the number of cases than in each of the previous two years.
Antifungal drug echinocandin is the first line of therapy given to treat C auris.
The World Health Organization warned that fungal infections are becoming a ‘major threat’ to public health.
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk