YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Healthcare facilities across the world have recently reported a type of yeast causing severe illness in immunocompromised and hospitalized patients, and it’s becoming more drug-resistant and invasive with time.

Candida auris, a type of fungus that may be present on our skin in safe amounts, has adapted to become more invasive and spreadable. It can get in to the bloodstream and cause fever, chills and other serious health complications.

“Not only is it very invasive, very aggressive — but it is resistant to most common antifungal medications we use,” said Dr. Munir Shah, an infectious disease specialist with Trumbull Regional Medical Center.

Shah says the fungus has evolved to persist at warmer temperatures, and climate change may be the reason.

A healthy person with a strong immune system should not be worried about the fungus.

“If you are immunocompromised in one way or another, or if you have multiple medical problems — then, yes, this candida, this yeast, can become very aggressive and cause a serious infection,” Shah said.

Hospitals and nursing homes are also places where the fungus may spread easily.

Candida auris is spread through contact with an infected person or infected surface. While a healthy person may not be impacted, they can still spread it to someone else, who may become very sick.

“The most important thing in this case is handwashing. If you go and see your loved ones in a nursing home, make sure you wash your hands before you go and visit them and after you get back,” Shah said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working to better respond, contain the spread and help prevent future infections of the fungus.