C. auris, emerging fungus that can cause severe, deadly infections, on the rise in California

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is tracking a new potential health threat, a fungus known as Candida auris, or C. auris.

C. auris is an emerging fungus that can cause serious illness in hospitalized patients. It can live on the skin of someone, even if they're not infected themselves, and infect others. Infections can also occur in the bloodstream, a wound, or the ear.

Most C. auris infections are treatable with a class of antifungal medications called echinocandins. But doctors say some infections are difficult to treat because they are resistant to the drugs.

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Since Dec. 31, 2022, the CDC has tracked 359 cases of C. auris in California.

It’s also difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods. Symptoms may not be noticeable because an infected person is often already hospitalized with another ailment. And the fungus is particularly harmful to patients who already have medical problems, which is why it's crucial to avoid outbreaks in hospitals and nursing homes.


According to the CDC, in the US, most cases of C. auris result from local spread within healthcare facilities in the same city or state. They say healthcare facilities should be on the lookout for any new introductions of C. auris from patients who received healthcare elsewhere in the US.

Since Dec. 31, 2022 the CDC has tracked 359 cases in California. Nevada has the most number of cases with 384. 

Last year, the US reported 2,377 clinical C. auris cases, based on lab-confirmed cultures, and 5,744 screening cases.

Screening cases are swabs collected from patients to determine whether they are carrying the fungus anywhere on their body, although they are not experiencing signs of an active infection.

The CDC says, based on the limited information available about C. auris infections, about 30% to 60% of patients infected die, although most are already dealing with severe illnesses that can undermine their body's ability to fight infection.