HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A drug-resistant fungus that doctors had hoped to contain has now spread to more than half the nation.  

The fungus, Candida Auris, can be extremely dangerous to those with a weakened immune system.

Dr. Ivan Melendez, Hidalgo County health authority, believes the deadly fungus has reached the Rio Grande Valley community.

The Hidalgo County health authority explains the fungus is resistant to a number of antifungal medications.  

“So, all the fungus that we’re looking at, only this particular fungus in the family of Candida, that one is a significant concern because it is becoming multi-drug resistant,” Melendez said.

The symptoms include a fever or a red rash and it can easily spread with direct contact, placing hospitals and nursing homes at risk.

“You can have spots on your skin that are like a regular yeast infection kind of raised and red and itchy would satellite lesions. And then you have fevers you can have your increased heart rate by now it’s in your blood system,” Melendez adds. 

Melendez says medical centers have protocols in place for infections such as Candida which lowers the risk of the spread.

According to a recent study provided by the Centers for Disease Control, there have been 160 confirmed cases in Texas and 4,000 in the United States.   

Melendez says he expects that number to increase this year. 

“This year we expect more than 5 thousand cases,” Melendez said. “You certainly need to go to your doctor. And this is one of the things that we should be looking into to make sure that you’re not infected with Candida.”

There have not been any confirmed cases in the Rio Grande Valley.