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‘Superbug’ fungus new menace in US hospitals, mostly NY, NJ

NEW YORK— A “superbug” fungus is emerging as a new menace in U.S. hospitals, mostly in New York and New Jersey.

First identified in Japan in 2009, the fungus has spread to more than a dozen countries around the globe. The oldest of the 66 cases reported in the United States dates back to 2013, but most were reported in the last year.

The fungus called Candida auris is a harmful form of yeast. Scientists say it can be hard to identify with standard lab tests. U.S. health officials sounded alarms last year because two of the three kinds of commonly used antifungal drugs have little effect.

The fungus can infect wounds, ears and the bloodstream. Fragile patients — like newborns and the elderly — seem to be most vulnerable.

For more information on the fungus, visit the CDC’s website.