A potentially deadly fungus called Candida auris is spreading through health care facilities across the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the fungus is an urgent threat because it is often drug resistant. The fungus is a type of yeast and can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems.

Dr. Richard Ellison, an infectious disease expert at UMass Memorial Medical Center, said the fungus’ resistance to treatment has increased and they have seen a few cases in Worcester. However, he said it’s typically only seen in someone who has spent a long period of time in the hospital.

"Particularly those people who require lung ventilation or have been in the hospital for a long time can pick up this yeast,” Ellison said. “It can get into the hospital environment and be on surfaces and then be picked up by someone."

The fungus can be found on the skin and throughout the body. Ellison said it's not a threat to healthy people.