Disturbing Increase in Drug-Resistant Fungus Cases Sweeps Across US | Credits: iStock
Disturbing Increase in Drug-Resistant Fungus Cases Sweeps Across US | Credits: iStock

Disturbing Increase in Drug-Resistant Fungus Cases Sweeps Across US, Particularly Alarming in New Jersey

United States: In the United States, health authorities are expressing grave concerns over the rising number of cases associated with a drug-resistant and deadly fungus. According to health officials, the fungus is proliferating rapidly and has reached alarming levels in several US states, notably in New Jersey.

The issue was recently highlighted by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which labeled the fungus, also known as C. auris, as “an emerging threat to global health,” claiming the lives of roughly one-third of those infected.

Health experts note that the fungus is primarily found in healthcare settings where long-term acute care is administered.

Instances in the United States!

Data released by the New Jersey Department of Health indicates that as of the start of the new year (2024), New Jersey has recorded approximately 1,668 cases linked to the “superbug.” A significant portion of these cases, namely 384, were reported in 2023.

According to the health agency, the majority of cases were concentrated in Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Union, and Middlesex counties.

In this context, the New Jersey Department of Health’s website explains, “Patients may carry C. auris on their bodies, even without exhibiting symptoms. This is known as colonization.”

Visual Representation for superbugs

Moreover, it elaborates, “When individuals in hospitals and nursing homes are colonized, C. auris can spread from their bodies to other people or nearby surfaces, facilitating the transmission of the fungus to those around them.”

Recent Data on Fungus Outbreaks!

Health agencies report recent outbreaks related to the fungus in Washington, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. According to MedPage Today, the United States has been witnessing the highest number of C. auris cases during the current season.

C. auris and Its Impact on Human Health!

Health experts emphasize that once the fungus enters an individual’s bloodstream, it can disseminate throughout the body, potentially leading to severe invasive infections. Of concern is the difficulty in treating these infections, as the fungus has developed resistance to antifungal medications and injections.

Health experts further note that the fungus can persist on surfaces such as bedding, door handles, oxygen masks, and bedrails for extended periods, and on plastic surfaces, it can survive for weeks, according to a report by MedPage Today.

Given the surge in cases associated with the fungus, the CDC urges healthcare authorities to implement preventive measures rigorously, including maintaining hand hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting the environment, and conducting laboratory testing of clinical specimens.