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The shortage of medical equipment, including gowns and gloves, triggered by the coronavirus outbreak may be helping to spread dangerous germs within healthcare facilities, according to officials who warned of a potentially deadly fungus in a Los Angeles County healthcare facility.

L.A. County officials are warning about multiple reports of the fungus, known as Candida auris, in healthcare facilities; there is also an increase in reports of the fungus in Orange County.

At least one outbreak has been identified at a facility in L.A. County, according to an advisory, intended for healthcare professionals, issued by the Department of Public Health.

C. auris is a fungus that was first identified in 2009 in Japan but since has been declared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention a “serious global health threat.” The yeast “can cause bloodstream infections and even death, particularly in hospital and nursing home patients with serious medical problems,” the CDC said, noting that the fungus causes death in more than 1 in 3 patients who suffer from an invasive infection, such as one affecting the blood, heart or brain.

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