March 22, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Highlights Efforts to Protect New Yorkers from Candida Auris Fungus

Governor Hochul Highlights Efforts to Protect New Yorkers from Candida Auris Fungus

State Efforts Aimed at Keeping New Yorkers Safe in Wake of CDC Report Alerting of Increase in Drug-Resistant Fungal Infections

New York State Department of Health Working with Health Care Facilities to Identify Cases and Take Precautions

Governor Kathy Hochul today highlighted long-standing state efforts to prevent potentially life-threatening fungal infections from Candida auris, which are spreading at an increasing pace nationwide. In addition to having a nation-leading surveillance model, the New York State Department of Health has worked with health care providers since 2016 to identify these fungal infections and take precautions to prevent the multidrug-resistant yeast from spreading in high-risk settings, such as hospitals and long-term care facilities.

"Our best tool to address emerging public health threats is being able to identify them before they begin to rapidly spread," Governor Hochul said. "While the CDC report on this drug-resistant fungus is concerning, our ability to track these infections is nation-leading and continues to help us take the aggressive action needed to contain this threat and ensure our health care facilities are safe."

Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report warning of the increasing threat of infections the multidrug-resistant yeast is posing to health care facilities and emphasizing the need for continued surveillance. More commonly known as Candida auris, infections from the fungus can cause severe illness in hospitalized patients because they do not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making them difficult to treat.

The Department of Health continues to provide guidance and assistance to hospitals and nursing homes to strengthen readiness, enhance surveillance, and implement effective infection prevention and control measures for Candida auris. When this fungus is confirmed or suspected, the agency recommends the patient be housed in a private room or moved to an area with other patients or residents with the same infection.

Meticulous attention to infection prevention and control - especially hand hygiene and environmental cleaning and disinfection - is critical for preventing the spread of the fungus. Facilities should also maintain adequate supplies of personal protective equipment, and thoroughly clean and disinfect the healthcare environment.

The Wadsworth Center, the state's public health laboratory, tests clinical and environmental samples for Candida auris. The center is among seven in the national Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network, which has a focus on multidrug-resistant Candida auris and other drug-resistant Candida fungi. Wadsworth Center was one of the first laboratories to develop a molecular assay for the rapid detection of Candida auris, the test now widely used by all labs in the network nationwide.

Acting Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, "It's important that people understand that there is little risk from Candida auris to the general public. Candida auris typically infects people who are already sick, it is preventable by thorough hand washing and cleaned surfaces as well as personal protective equipment. At Governor Hochul's direction, the Department continues to work with health care facilities throughout New York State to identify potential cases and slow the spread of Candida auris."

The fungal infection was first detected in New York State through public health surveillance in 2016, but a 2013 case was retrospectively identified. Below are annual clinical and surveillance cases from 2013 through 2023.


# Clinical

# Surveillance





































*As of March 22, 2023

Clinical cases include individuals who were ill and had Candida auris detected during their clinical care. Screening cases include individuals who were not ill from Candida auris and were tested specifically for Candida auris as part of a public health investigation, approximately 10 percent of which converted to clinical cases - further emphasizing the invasive nature of this fungal pathogen.

Candida auris can persist on surfaces in healthcare environments and spread between patients in healthcare facilities. Patients with multiple co-morbidities and who receive mechanical ventilation are among the highest risk for infection. Additionally, patients who have a long stay in an intensive care unit, have serious medical conditions, and who have previously received antibiotics or antifungal medications, are at the highest risk of infection.

Most cases of Candida auris identified in New York State have been found in healthcare facilities in the New York City region, but some have recently been reported from areas outside of the metropolitan area. All suspected or confirmed cases must be reported to the facility's infection control department and the state Department of Health.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640


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