The state Department of Health says there have been no reported cases in Hawaii of Candide auris, a sometimes deadly fungus that is resistant to most anti-fungal medications.

However, Dr. Sarah Park, the state epidemiologist, said Hawaii is taking the potential threat posed by Candide auris seriously. Health care facilities and labs in Hawaii are actively monitoring for it, and forwarding suspected Candida specimens to a lab in Seattle that is part of the Antibiotic Resistance networks, she said.

A strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at CDC. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

According to a recent New York Times story, Candide auris  has been spreading around the globe, with a large number of recent cases in New York, New Jersey and Illinois. It often strikes people with weakened immune systems.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added it to a list of germs deemed “urgent threats.” The Times story, citing CDC estimates, said that nearly half the infected patients die within 90 days.

Park said that DOH is also working with infection prevention staff at Hawaii health care facilities to keep them informed about the fungus and taking steps to monitor for it. Park said she is also including discussion about Candida auris during her Grand Rounds talks at hospitals.

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