Drug-resistant Candida auris spreads to New York City, New Jersey

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a deadly, drug-resistant fungus is spreading around health care facilities and "a serious global health threat."

Candida auris preys on people with weakened immune systems by infecting the bloodstream. It's difficult to identify with standard technology.

More than 587 cases have been confirmed in the U.S., mostly in New York City, New Jersey and Chicago, according to the CDC.

Infectious disease specialist Dr. Todd Ellerin tells ABC News that this fungus is resistant to the typical cleaning against that hospital and health care facilities often use.

WATCH: Nassau University Medical Center briefing on Candida auris

"If we don't change the way we clean rooms, then the Candida will hang out there. It could potentially infect the next person that enters the room," Ellerin said.

The CDC says early detection of C. auris is essential for containing its spread in health care facilities.

People who have recently spent time in nursing homes and have lines and tubes that go into their body (such as breathing tubes, feeding tubes, and central venous catheters), seem to be at highest risk for C. auris infection.

The CDC adds that infections have been found in patients of all ages, from preterm infants to the elderly.

The rare and deadly fungal disease first appeared in the U.S. in 2016. It first appeared globally in Japan in 2009, according to the CDC, and has spread to more than 20 countries.

For more information about C. auris, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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