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As of the end of February, a total of 587 cases had been confirmed across the country, a lot of them in New York State, where there were 309 cases.

The Centers for Disease Control said it "identified 51 clinical case-patients and 61 screening case-patients" in NY alone.

The state's number of cases - now the third-highest after NY and IL - has risen in tandem with an increase, first overseas, and now in the United States, in a trend that some doctors attribute to the overuse of drugs to treat infections, prompting the mutation of infection sources, in this case, a fungus.

What makes the fungus so risky is that it is resistant to major antifungal drugs that are typically used to treat infections.

The elderly man, who was not named by the Times, was isolated in the intensive care unit, but died 90 days later.

The source of the infection for C auris isn't the person who got sick but rather the hospital environment, including catheters, counters, and other surfaces.

"Candida auris is a fungus that is causing serious infections in patients in the United States and around the world, primarily in healthcare settings, particularly post-acute and long-term care facilities and especially long-term acute care hospitals and skilled nursing facilities that take care of patients on ventilators", Kirgan said.

But hospitals are not obliged to inform patients if they have the infection, which is most commonly contracted in hospitals, according to an alarming new feature by the New York Times.

It's a type of yeast called Candida auris and has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients.

Jeniel Nett, MD, PhD, and Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Medical Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, tells Salon Candida auris has emerged as a public health threat for many reasons. The fungus is a harmful form of yeast that was first seen in a patient in 2009, in Japan.

The recent concern over C. auris comes even as Governments across the world tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a scenario where an antibiotic is unable to treat or control the simplest of bacterial infections due to resistance developed against the drug by the bacteria.

According to researchers, India has one of the highest number of infection cases caused by the microbe.

While most Candida auris infections are treatable with antifungal medications, the CDC says it's concerned that some have proven to be resistant to all three main classes of antifungal medications.

Chakrabarti adds that C.auris was increasingly catching the attention of healthcare providers because it resides largely in hospital ICUs and spreads fast. Because drug development is a lengthy process, most health officials are concentrating on trying to keep the fungus in check. NY has had 309 confirmed cases, New Jersey has had 104 and IL had had 144.

The CDC issued a public alert in January about a drug-resistant bacteria that a dozen Americans contracted after undergoing elective surgeries at Grand View Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.