A drug-resistant fungus is spreading across the US. These maps show where the biggest threat is.

Candida auris
Scientific illustration of Candida auris.Kateryna Kon/Getty Image
  • Candida auris is a fungus that poses a threat to the sickest patients in hospitals.

  • Infection with the fungus can be deadly, as it has evolved resistance to antifungal drugs.

  • The CDC has been tracking Candida auris infections across the US for a decade.

Health officials are tracking a fungus that's spreading in US hospitals at an "alarming rate," putting thousands of sick patients at risk for potentially deadly infections.

While most people who come into contact with Candida auris don't get sick, the fungus poses a serious threat to people in hospitals and nursing homes. Patients who need breathing tubes, feeding tubes, and catheters are particularly high-risk for infections with Candida auris, which is becoming increasingly difficult to treat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 30–60% of people infected with this fungus have died, though many had co-occurring illnesses that increased their risk of death.

Candida auris is becoming more dangerous because a growing portion of infections recorded by the CDC are drug-resistant, meaning they cannot be cured with common antifungal medicines. The agency saw the number of Candida auris cases showing resistance to the recommended treatment for the infection increase threefold in 2021, according to the report.

The fungus been spotted in half of the 50 states, according to a recent report from the CDC, and is on the rise overall in the US. But not all states are facing the same threat level. Some states, like Washington and Maine, have been largely spared, while other states, like California and Illinois, are hotbeds of new cases. The CDC has published several maps illustrating which states need to be most on the lookout. Here's what we know.

California and Nevada had the most recorded infections last year

CDC map of Candida auris infections in the US, 2022
CDC map of Candida auris infections in the US, 2022

The CDC recorded 2,377 clinical cases of C. auris infection in 2022.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Last year, Nevada had the most recorded Candida auris infections of any state in 2022, with a total of 384 clinical cases. Since the symptoms of Candida auris infection — fever and chills — may be explained by co-occurring illness, the only way to diagnose it for sure is with a specific laboratory test.

California, Florida, and New York — in that order — had the next-highest counts for Candida auris infections in 2022.

New York and Illinois have also been hit hard by fungal infections

CDC map of Candida auris infections in the US, 2013-2022
The first recorded case of C. auris in the US was noted in 2013. Since then, the CDC has counted 5,654 clinical cases.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

US health officials have had Candida auris on their radar since 2013, when the fungus began infecting a smattering of patients in Illinois, New York, and New Jersey.

Since then, New York and Illinois have consistently reported some of the highest Candida auris case counts in the US. Health officials in these states might also be better-prepared to detect and identify the fungus, since they've been dealing with it for longer.

This map shows the total number of Candida auris infections recorded in the US in the past decade. In total, there have been 5,654 recorded clinical cases of the disease in the US since 2013.

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