The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed "a serious global health threat" has made its way to the Empire State.

"The Last of Us" Happening in Real Life?

Liane Hentscher/HBO
Liane Hentscher/HBO

The popular HBO series "The Last of Us" has brought attention to the numerous fungal infections that afflict humans. Humans that become infected with a particular fungus eventually turn into mindless, and horrifying, zombies.

While the cordyceps fungus featured in the post-apocalyptic show is not truly capable of infecting people because the human body's high internal temperature would prevent it from taking hold, there are other fungi that are capable of harming humans.

One has since been deemed a global health threat and it's been detected here in New York.

Serious Fungal Infections on the Rise

Black Fungus Infections Add To Covid Crisis In 2nd Tier Cities
Ritesh Shukla/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been tracking the fungi Candida auris (C. auris), which has been spreading through hospitals and nursing homes worldwide.

The CDC said on its website, "[It's an] emerging fungus that presents a serious global health threat."

The fungi was detected in the U.S. back in 2018 and has established itself in more than two dozen states.

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In 2022, the United States reported 2,377 clinical cases of infection and 5,745 screening cases. California, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Nevada and New York have reported the highest number of cases.

New York reported nearly 330 instances of the fungi.

What Is C. Auris?

A Day with A Covid-19 Intensive Care Unit at Hospital General de Mexico
Hector Vivas/Getty Images

The CDC says C. Auris is a type of yeast that is easily spreadable among patients of healthcare facilities. It is capable of causing severe illness, especially among those with weakened systems. It is also resistant to antifungal treatments, "which means that the medications that are designed to kill the fungus and stop infections do not work."

C. Auris is capable of infecting different part of the body, including the bloodstream. Most symptoms tend to reflect that of a bacterial infection and the CDC adds, "There is not a common set of symptoms specific for C. auris infections."

C. auris can cause a variety of infections from superficial (skin) infections to more severe, life-threatening infections. C. auris is the most dangerous when it causes invasive infections, such as bloodstream infections. However, many of the patients who become sick with C. auris are usually already very sick, which makes it hard to know how much C. auris contributed to their death

The CDC adds the fungus is not typically a threat to healthy people. It's more lethal to those with "severe underlying medical conditions" that need intensive medical intervention.

The fungi has been known to take to those using devices like breathing tubes, catheters, and feeding tubes.

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Those who interact with a person who has been "colonized" by the fungus can help stave off an infection by sanitizing or washing their hands before and after contact with the afflicted person and their medical devices.

Those who have been colonized by the fungus are usually isolated from other patients and are put in rooms that are treated with specialized disinfectants. Those who must interact with the patient use regular PPE to prevent or slow its spread.

However, once infected, C. auris remains in the system for a long time. The CDC didn't provide a timeline of how long the fungus can remain on a person's skin or body.

You can learn more about this fungus by watching the informational video alone.

In short, while this is alarming news, our healthcare systems are on top of this and have curated protocols to prevent this fungus from spreading freely. If you are concerned about C. auris, the best thing you can do is to keep those hands clean.

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