Fungal infection rapidly spreading in the U.S.

By Daniela Morales, 10th Grade

When it comes to healthcare, the world has spent the last 3 to 4 years focused on COVID-19 and recovering from the pandemic. Last year and up until now, monkeypox and influenza have also gained attention, but many don’t know that the United States has seen an increase in the transmission of fungal infections in the past few years as well. Specifically, the United States has been affected by a fungus called Candida Auris, which is immune to many drugs, making it so much easier to spread. 

The fungus is also hard to identify, which in some cases prevents doctors from treating it correctly because they might confuse it with another virus, according to the CDC. From 2019 to 2021, the number of infections provoked by this fungus increased by 95%. In fact, if we go even farther back it’s surprising how much it has grown, from only 53 cases in 2016 (the first year cases were reported) to 2,377 cases in 2022 (Reuters, 2023). 

Now, you may be wondering… why is this important when compared to the millions of people that live in the U.S. there are only a few thousand getting sick? Let me explain. First, the Candida Auris infection it’s not concentrated in one area, if that were the case it would be more manageable. Rather it has spread from where it was initially reported, New York and Chicago, to more than 25 U.S. states. Then, not only does it spread but it’s as if the fungus has a mind of its own and nitpicks the population for the weakest prey, as the CDC explains it’s most likely to target people who are already sick and have a weakened immune system. In turn, this causes outbreaks to happen in clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. 

In the world, there are only 4 antifungal drugs approved by the World Health Organization, which already limits treatment, but the situation is worsened by the fact that the Candida Auris is highly resistant to one of these drugs, called echinocandins. The CDC reports that some variants of the fungus are resistant to three of these drugs. When the fungus enters your skin you can be asymptomatic, which means some people don’t realize they have the disease. If you do have symptoms, these are some of the ones you may experience: an ear infection, wound infection, and blood infection. These are accompanied by aspects like fever, chills, tiredness, nausea, inflammation, etc. 

However, what’s most preoccupying are not the symptoms but the high risk of dying due to these fungal infections, since it has a 60% mortality rate (Mosbergen, 2023). The World Health Organization says that in the United States, cases are rising due to a mismanagement and lack of hygiene in the healthcare sector (Chavez, 2023). Some experts think that this is not something that will vanish in the near future, rather it’ll keep growing. Knowing that the virus is resistant to many drugs, what the United States should focus on is prevention, because if they can’t assure effective treatment they should make sure the demand for it does not increase. This is a challenge that should be tackled both federally and at the state level, so that the fungal infection doesn’t spread to all 50 states. 


Mosbergen, D. (2023, March 20). Deadly fungus detected in most US states. mint. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from

Chavez, J. (2023, March 20). An emerging fungal threat spread at an alarming rate in US health care facilities, study says. CNN. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, December 27). Candida auris. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from

 Person. (2023, March 21). Candida auris fungus spreading in U.S. hospitals – CDC. Reuters. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from


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