Nearly 3 dozen cases of deadly fungal infection reported in US - KCTV5

Nearly 3 dozen cases of deadly fungal infection reported in US

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A strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at CDC. (Shawn Lockhart/CDC) A strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at CDC. (Shawn Lockhart/CDC)
LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) -

A deadly fungal infection that doctors have been fearing has now been reported in the United States.

Nearly three dozen people across the country have already been diagnosed with Candida auris, and researchers at the University of Kansas say the focus should be keeping it quarantined.

"It is extremely dangerous, and it seems to be killing a large percentage of people who get this as an infection," said Joanna Slusky, assistant professor of molecular biosciences and computational biology.

Candida auris is a species of fungus that grows as yeast. The closest it has got to Kansas or Missouri is Illinois with four reported cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it survives for months on skin and for weeks on bed rails, chairs and other hospital equipment which could put patients at risk.

"The problem with this kind of infection is that it moves from being topical and into the bloodstream and so it becomes a systemic infection," Slusky said.

What makes this fungal infection different than others is that it's resistant to all three major anti-fungal drugs.

Slusky's research specializes in antibiotic resistance. She's trying to develop a protein to essentially stop that resistance. She says be it bacteria, fungus or virus, it’s key to get ahead of these resistant diseases before it's too late.

"More people will be dying from anti-microbial resistance than from cancer by 2050 if we don't keep these resistance mechanisms in check," she said.

And something researchers say will help them fight this deadly fungus is funding so that they so that they can learn more about it.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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