GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There were no confirmed cases of Candida auris in Kent County as of Tuesday, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have confirmed 33 cases in Michigan.

The dangerous fungal infection, also referred to as C. auris, was first identified in the states in 2013. The CDC says Candida species are known for causing infections in the mouth, skin and vagina. The germs can also cause life-threatening bloodstream infections.

Dr. Andrew Jameson, division chief of infectious diseases at Trinity Health, said it and other area hospitals are on alert.

“This is the first fungal infection that can actually transmit and live a little bit like a resistant bacteria,” he said. “So it’s unique in its ability and that’s what is so worrisome to us because it has the ability to move around a health care facility once it gets in.”

The infection is transmitted by touch. Spores of the fungus can live on area surfaces for a long period of time.

“It doesn’t always cause infections, but when it does cause infections in some people, it can be really, really difficult to treat,” Jameson said.

The CDC says that nearly a third of those who contracted the infection died. In most of those cases, the patients were already immunocompromised.

“We do have antifungals that work,” Jameson said. “But one the issues that we have in the antifungal world is the number of antifungals we have as a whole are a lot few than that of what we have for antibiotics.”