This fungus causes serious bloodstream infections, spreads easily from person to person in health-care settings, and survives for months on skin and for weeks on bed rails, chairs and other hospital equipment. It can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones and other parts of the body. It is also resistant to all three major classes of antifungal drugs and up to 60 percent of people with this infection have died. Many others had serious underlying illnesses. Especially patients who have been in intensive care for a long time or who are on ventilators or have central line catheters inserted into a large vein are at high risk to be infected.
In the U.S., at least 28 of 35 cases were reported in New York. Infections have also been reported in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey. “As soon as we put out that alert, we started to get information about cases and now we know more about how it spreads and how it’s acting,” Tom Chiller, the CDC’s top fungal expert, said to the media. However, for the instant, this infection is difficult to combat.