COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A new warning about a potentially deadly fungus considered an “urgent antimicrobial resistance (AR) threat” has been issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to a release from the CDC, the fungus, Candida auris (C. auris), has been detected in more than half of the states in the U.S., including Ohio. In fact, data from the CDC shows the Buckeye state ranks among the top 10 states in the United States with the highest number of clinical cases (infections) of Candida auris between Jan. 2022 and Dec. 2022, with 79 cases reported.

The CDC notes that this fungus is concerning because it is often resistant to antifungal drugs, making it difficult to treat infections. In addition, it can be challenging to identify with standard lab tests, making early treatment difficult.

C. auris was first detected in the US in 2016 and has been spreading rapidly in healthcare facilities since then. According to the CDC, the fungus “spread at an alarming rate” between 2020 and 2021 and has continued to spread in 2022. The CDC also noted that C. auris cases have been increasing each year since 2016, with the most rapid rise occurring during 2020-2021.

By the end of 2022, there were more than 8,000 instances of Candida auris identified across 28 states and Washington, D.C. The map below shows confirmed cases of the fungus, with states shaded in red having the most infections.

CDC epidemiologist Dr. Meghan Lyman, the lead author of the paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, stated that the rapid rise and geographic spread of C. auris cases are concerning and emphasized the need for continued surveillance, expanded lab capacity, quicker diagnostic tests, and adherence to proven infection prevention and control.

To prevent the further spread of the fungus, the CDC is working with state, local, and territorial health departments and other partners to address this emerging threat to public health.