Schumer calls on CDC to declare emergency in fight against superbug

NEW YORK (WABC) -- U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling on the Centers for Disease Control to declare an emergency and unlock special funding to stem a potentially deadly drug-resistant fungus that's been spreading at health care facilities.

Schumer, the Senate Democratic Leader, says declaring an emergency over the Candida Auris fungus could make his home state of New York eligible for potentially millions of dollars in public health crisis response funding.

More than half of the 613 confirmed cases in the U.S. have been in New York. Illinois has had 156 confirmed cases of the fungus. New Jersey has had 106.

The CDC has declared public health emergencies over Zika, Ebola and H1N1. Schumer says the extra funding could be used to boost testing for Candida Auris and raise public awareness.

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

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.

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

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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