Shawn Lockhart, CDC via Associated Press
This undated photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at a CDC laboratory.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently labeled a superbug called Candida auris as a “global health threat” after more than 600 reported cases throughout the world.

The superbug, which is called C. auris for short, typically impacts hospital patients and nursing home residents, creating potentially fatal infections.

According to USA Today, the fungus creates invasive infections. It was first identified in 2009 in Japan before reaching the United States in 2015. Since that time, there have been more than 600 cases in the U.S, according to the CDC.

Dr. Tom Chiller, chief of the CDC's Mycotic Diseases Branch, told CNN that health officials remain uncertain about how the superbug came to be.

"We really can't explain that ... unless it goes back thousands of years," he said.

So who gets infected?: “Candida auris typically preys on patients who already have a serious medical condition or a compromised immune system, especially those who require intrusive treatment with a tube going into their body,” according to USA Today.

  • “Healthy people typically don’t get infected, but they should clean their hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer when they come in contact with a patient who has the disease or with surfaces or equipment in the room.”
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  • CDC numbers show that 30 to 60% of people who have gotten C. auris have died. However, many of those people already had increased health risks, USA Today reported.

Treatment: And, according to the CDC, many of the usual treatments haven’t worked just yet.

  • For example, the fungus is multidrug resistant, which means that it can defeat multiple drugs that are often used to treat Candida infections, according to the CDC.
  • Standard laboratories have trouble identifying the bug and it can sometimes even be misidentified, the CDC says.
  • And, since it typically impacts people in health care settings, it needs to be identified quickly, according to the CDC.