Case of deadly fungus confirmed in Hawaii amid concern of rapid spread in US

FILE - This undated photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...
FILE - This undated photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at a CDC laboratory.(Shawn Lockhart | AP)
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 12:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Amid national concern of a potentially deadly fungus spreading rapidly through health care facilities, the state Department of Hawaii on Friday confirmed that Hawaii has had one confirmed case of what’s called Candida auris.

DOH officials said the patient was first diagnosed in September 2022 and had acquired it in another state.

A thorough investigation at the outpatient clinic, where the patient was diagnosed, did not find any evidence of hospital or health care facility spread.

The fungus, also known as C. auris, is a form of yeast and can cause severe illness in those with weakened immune systems. In some patients, the yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing invasive infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that C. auris, which is multidrug-resistant, has been rising at an “alarming” rate since it was first reported in the U.S. Cases in the U.S. have tripled over just three years and more than half of states have now reported it, according to the CDC.

In Hawaii, health officials said even though the risk of C. auris is low, more cases are anticipated in the state in the future given the number of cases seen across the country.

C. auris was first detected in 2009 in Japan. The first U.S. case occurred in 2013 but wasn’t actually reported until 2016.