PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are growing concerns about a contagious fungal infection. New Jersey is a hot spot for the infection that is breaking out mainly in hospital settings.
Infectious disease specialists at the Center for Disease Control are calling for stronger measures to detect and prevent an infection that is difficult to treat and is putting hospitals, along with nursing home patients, at a great risk, because it is an antibiotic resistant superbug.
64-year-old Stephanie Spoor, was hospitalized for breathing trouble when she developed a contagious fungal infection called Candida Auris.
This infection forced her to watch her son’s wedding from her hospital room.
“That’s the one time that she cried, after she learned she wasn’t going to make it, was at the wedding,” her son Nicholas Spoor said.
The fungal infection that does not respond to standard treatments, mainly strikes people who are immune compromised, in hospitals, where it can quickly spread from room to room, on people, clothing and even lunch trays.
Doctors say more people need to know about the mysterious and dangerous drug-resistant fungus.
“I think they should be aware. They should be concerned. They should be engaged,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Rupp said.
The CDC says most of Candida Auris in the United States are in New York City, Chicago and New Jersey, where there are 124 confirmed cases along with 22 probable cases.
Doctors blame the superbug on the widespread overuse of antibiotics.
The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia is on the cutting edge of finding new, more effective ways to treat bacterial infections that have become resistant to traditional antibiotics.
It will hold a symposium on Wednesday where other scientists will share their research. The insights cannot come soon enough for Stephanie’s family.
“I can’t imagine what she was feeling at the time, like looking at everybody with gowns and rubber gloves. The day she passed, when they turned off the machines, they said you can take your gloves off if you want to touch her. I was not to be able to do that,” Nicholas said.
There have been 715 confirmed or suspected cases of the rare fungus in the United States.
The infection can be complicated to diagnose, because people who get it are often sick with other medical condition. Experts say hospital infection control is a critical part of preventing the infection.
For more information on the infection, click here.