Illinois has 154 cases of potentially deadly fungal disease; 3 in St. Louis area

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ST. LOUIS – A drug-resistant superbug is here. It’s called Candida auris and it's a fungus that preys on people with weakened immune systems.

The fungus has sickened nearly 600 across the country and three cases have shown up in the metro east.

Illinois health officials have confirmed 154 cases of the fungus. It’s transmitted primarily in health care settings, from patient contact with tubes, catheters, and other devices.

The fungus can be resistant to drug treatment and dangerous to older and sick patients who have had invasive medical procedures.

Most of the reported cases are in the Chicago-area. A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Public Health said the three people in the metro east “were screened and found to have the fungus on their skin but were not sick.”

No cases have been reported in Missouri.

Administrators at the East Side Health District in East St. Louis said they protocols in place for good environmental cleanliness, such as glove usage and good practices of cleaning equipment.

“The danger is that really it’s a resistant pathogen…and it spreads easily in health care facilities, so that’s why we are worried about it. And also, it can make people very sick, I mean, it can cause a bloodstream infection,” said Christina Zirges, SSM Health Director of Infection Prevention.

The fungus may or may not show up on the skin. SSM Health officials said they already have stellar infection prevention protocols in place 24/7 at their facilities, with environmental cleaning of all equipment to stop the spread any disease.

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