New Jersey is being invaded by a potentially fatal superbug.
The Garden State has reported 141 confirmed cases of Candida auris as of Sept. 30, with another 22 possible cases also identified. It’s part of a 10-year, worldwide epidemic that continues to baffle health professionals, NJ.com reported.
The bug typically infects patients with pre-existing conditions who are already in hospitals and nursing homes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Patients with diabetes or blood cancers are particularly vulnerable, the center said.
Symptoms of the illness can vary, the CDC said, and can cause bloodstream or heart infections that can “be serious or even fatal.”
The CDC did not provide figures on the number of fatalities resulting from Candida auris — which is classified as a fungus — and said tracking the deaths is difficult because most who contract it suffer from other serious ailments.
But the agency said that “based on information from a limited number of patients,” 30 to 60 percent of those who contract it die.
The Washington University School of Medicine estimates the worldwide fatality number at 162,000.
There are 806 confirmed cases of Candida auris in the nation and 30 probable cases, the CDC said.
While New Jersey has seen a spike in cases, New York continues to have more confirmed cases than any other state, with 388 and another four possible cases, the CDC reported.
“It looks spooky and it is,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said in May when he called for the agency to declare a medical emergency. “It’s a fungus that has no cure and it’s resistant.”
The infections can be treated with a class of medications known as echinocandins, but has shown resistance to three main classes of antifungal medications, the New York State Department of Health said.
Candida auris was first identified in Japan in 2009.