A deadly and drug-resistant superbug, one that is killing 60 percent of those infected, is spreading across New York, including into the Hudson Valley.

The New York State Health Commissioner recently issued a statewide health advisory to all hospitals and nursing homes to be on high alert for a type of yeast, Candida auris, a fungal infection that has become increasingly resistant to treatments and more often than not, fatal.

Candida auris was first found in Japan in 2009. It has now been found in more than a dozen countries, and six states, mostly in New York.

Most of the cases in New York were found among hospital patients and nursing home residents in New York City, but one person was recently diagnosed with it in Westchester County. Another in Rochester, reports the New York State of Health.

This year, the deadly superbug was reported in New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts. About 75 percent of the reported cases were found in New York, according to the CDC.

Candida auris can be spread in healthcare settings through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, or from physical contact with a person who is infected or colonized, reports the New York State of Health.

According to the CDC, Candida auris has been causing severe illness in hospitalized patients. In some patients, this yeast can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, causing serious invasive infections. This yeast often does not respond to commonly used antifungal drugs, making infections difficult to treat

“What’s also unique about this organism is that it can actually stay on skin surfaces for prolonged periods of time, even months after the initial infection is cured,” Dr. Neil Gaffin told CBS. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing and a burning sensation.

All the patients who died in New York with Candida auris had other serious medical conditions, so it is difficult to attribute any deaths specifically to Candida auris, reports the New York State of Health.

According to the New York Post, there have been 122 cases reported this year, up from six from a year ago. 60 percent of the time, the superbug is fatal.

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