New York State Department of Health Observes Fungal Disease Awareness Week

Department Highlights Importance of Prevention, Education and Treatment

September 18–22 is Fungal Disease Awareness Week

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 20, 2023) The New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, Center for Community Health, and the Bureau of Healthcare Associated Infections are partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in observing Fungal Disease Awareness Week.

Each year, the CDC and partners dedicate Fungal Disease Awareness Month to activities and outreach that encourage everyone to Think Fungus. Webinars and learning activities will be highlighted each day of the observation week and presented by fungal disease experts. To participate in these events and learn more about prevention, education and treatment, visit

"In observance of Fungal Disease Awareness Week and given the continued threat of fungal infections in our communities, New Yorkers should regularly communicate with their health care provider about the risks associated with fungal infections, the symptoms they should be aware of, and familiarize themselves with the treatment options should they receive a fungal infection diagnosis," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said.

In recent years, the Department and the Wadsworth Center have received and investigated reports of people with fungal infections caused by Candida auris (C. auris), histoplasma, blastomycoses, and antifungal-resistant ringworm. Fungal infections, if left undiagnosed and untreated, can be potentially life-threatening. Early diagnosis and treatment with appropriate use of antifungal medications are key to increasing the chances of a successful outcome; a delayed diagnosis risks the development of antimicrobial resistance.

According to the CDC, "fungal diseases are increasing worldwide, and signs suggest this trend will continue. Studies show that global temperature increases may allow environmental infectious fungi to grow in areas that were previously too cold. Changes in the climate may also cause fungi to evolve, threatening the rise of new fungal infections. Some researchers believe climate change caused the emergence of the deadly fungus C. auris."

The Department continues to work with health care facilities in the state to identify and respond to cases of C. auris. Response activities in health care settings focus on case identification, contact tracing and assessing potential spread, ensuring robust environmental cleaning and disinfection practices within healthcare settings, appropriate hand hygiene and use of personal protective equipment, and communication among health care facilities when patients known to have C. auris move through the health care continuum.

Blastomycosis, an infection caused by a fungus called Blastomyces, primarily occurs in people who live and or visit areas of the Midwest, south-central, and southeastern U.S. In 2017, locally acquired infections were reported in New York State by infectious disease specialists in the Capital Region. Today, the threat continues to be monitored by the Department and the Wadsworth Center, with expanded investigations due to continued detection of infections.

Blastomycosis is acquired after breathing in airborne microscopic fungal spores while participating in activities that disturb topsoil or decaying plant materials like wood or leaves. Blastomycosis does not spread through the air between people or between people and animals.

Tinea, often known as ringworm, is a common and highly contagious fungal infection. In 2023, an infectious disease physician in New York City identified two severe cases that were not responding to standard treatment and reported the cases to public health. Laboratory testing at the Wadsworth Center identified Trichophyton indotineae, a newly discovered antifungal-resistant fungus not previously known to be in the United States.