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Health Department: Over 140 Confirmed Cases Of Deadly Drug-Resistant Fungus In New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) -- The New Jersey Department of Health says there's over 140 confirmed cases of a deadly drug-resistant fungus in the state. According to the health department, as of Sept. 30, there's been 141 cases of Candida auris, a fungus that causes serious infections in patients with ventilators, primarily in long-term acute hospitals or nursing homes.

There are 22 other probable cases of the drug-resistant fungus in the state.

"Patients can carry C. auris on their body, even if it is not making them sick. This is called colonization. When people in hospitals and nursing homes are colonized, C. auris can spread from their bodies and can get on other people or nearby objects, allowing the fungus to spread to people around them," the health department says on its website.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than one in three patients with invasive C. auris infection die. The fungus is often resistant to medicines and can spread in hospitals and nursing homes.

C. auris causes serious infections after entering the bloodstream and spreading throughout the patient's body.

The CDC is working with public health partners, health care personnel and laboratories to stop the spread. The CDC calls C. auris a "serious global health threat."

There are 806 confirmed cases nationwide.

The New Jersey Health Department says if you suspect or identify C. auris, contact your local health department and the NJDOH Communicable Disease Service at (609) 826-5964.

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