DENVER (KDVR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a rapidly spreading fungus has been identified in Colorado.

But what is the fungus and how can you get it?

What is Candida auris?

The Candida auris fungus was first identified in 2009 in Asia.

The fungus was first detected in the United States in 2016. The fungus “spread at an alarming rate” between 2020 and 2021 in health care facilities, the CDC wrote in a memo released Monday and has continued to spread in 2022.

According to the CDC, the C. auris fungus is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs. Some of the strains of the fungus are resistant to all three available classes of antifungals.

Who is at risk?

Patients who have been hospitalized in a health care facility for a long time appear to be at the highest risk of infection, the CDC said.

Here is a look at who is most likely to get a Candida auris infection, according to the CDC:

  • C. auris mainly affects patients who already have many medical problems
  • It often affects people who have had frequent hospital stays or live in nursing homes
  • C. auris is more likely to affect patients who have weakened immune systems from conditions such as blood cancers or diabetes, receive lots of antibiotics, or have devices like tubes going into their body (for example, breathing tubes, feeding tubes, catheters in a vein, or bladder catheters)
  • Healthy people usually don’t get C. auris infections

What are the symptoms?

The CDC said that the symptoms of C. auris might not be noticeable because patients with it are often times already sick in the hospital with another serious illness or condition.

C. auris can cause many different types of infection, like a bloodstream infection, wound infection, and ear infection, the CDC explained on its website.

Is Candida auris deadly?

The CDC said that based on information from a limited number of patients, 30–60% of people with C. auris infections have died. However, many of these people had other serious illnesses that also increased their risk of death.

From January 2022 through December 2022, there were 2,377 clinical cases of C. auris in the U.S. Only one clinical case was reported in Colorado during that period.