Guidance for Investigating Fungal Disease Outbreaks

Key points

  • Fungal disease outbreaks are rare.
  • Outbreaks can occur in healthcare settings and workplaces. Some have occurred following extreme weather events.
  • Health departments and healthcare providers can contact CDC for support with outbreak prevention and response.
  • The National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS) collects reports for outbreaks of blastomycosis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, and sporotrichosis.
image of a government building, A pop out circle has a male doctor making a phone call. a circle on the other side shows a male public health official wearing a suit and tie and on a headset in front of a computer.

Action steps

Report any suspected or confirmed fungal disease outbreak to the local health department. Health departments can start investigations with assistance from CDC.

Local health departments

Healthcare providers and anyone who suspects a fungal disease outbreak should contact their state or local health department.

For healthcare-associated outbreaks: contact your healthcare-associated infection (HAI) coordinator.

CDC assistance

State and local health departments and healthcare providers can contact CDC for assistance including:

  • Fungal laboratory diagnostics
  • Epidemiologic investigation
  • Clinical guidance
  • Outbreak response

CDC contact information for fungal disease outbreaks‎ for mold-related and all other suspected or confirmed fungal disease outbreaks. for Candida auris (C. auris) outbreak prevention or response.

Healthcare-associated outbreaks

Candida auris

The fungus Candida auris (C. auris) has been linked to outbreaks in healthcare settings throughout the world and the United States. C. auris is especially challenging because it spreads easily and persists on surfaces a long time needing additional infection control measures.

Find more information on C. auris infection prevention and control.

Molds (Aspergillus and mucoromycetes)

Rarely, mold can cause outbreaks in healthcare settings. Some outbreaks have been linked to local construction, ventilation systems, contaminated healthcare linen, and contaminated medical instruments.

Find more information for healthcare professionals on mold outbreaks.

Image of a doctor at a patient's bedside. The patient has an IV and monitors. Text reads: Patients can get deadly fungal infections in healthcare settings. Some fungi can infect internal organs, tissue, or blood.
Infection control prevents fungal infections in hospitals.

Contaminated medicines or medical devices

Infection protection and control measures prevent fungal infections during medical procedures. On rare occasions, medications or medical devices used for invasive procedures have been contaminated with disease-causing fungi. The fungi causing these outbreaks can be difficult to identify.

Examples include two fungal meningitis outbreaks:

Environmental and occupational outbreaks

Environmental fungi can also cause outbreaks, although it is rare. Outbreaks are defined as two or more cases linked to a common source. This may occur in a workplace, in particular at construction sites or in laboratories. Outbreaks can also occur following extreme weather events or at outdoor public settings like campsites. Some fungal diseases that have been associated with outbreaks include blastomycosis, coccidiomycosis (Valley fever), histoplasmosis, and sporotrichosis.

National Outbreak Reporting System

Health departments are encouraged to report outbreaks of blastomycosis, coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis, or sporotrichosis to the National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS). Even small outbreaks (just two cases, for example) can be reported through the NORS platform.

Anyone who suspects an outbreak should contact their local health department.