Chicago-area woman dies after contracting rare fungus Candida auris

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CHICAGO — Relatives of a Chicago-area woman who contracted a rare fungus want to raise awareness about the deadly superbug.

Stephanie Spoor, 64, was being treated for complications from lupus and was in need of a lung transplant. Her family said she contracted Candida auris, a fungus that’s resistant to multiple anti-fungal treatments, during her treatment at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Spoor’s sons said they want to tell their mother’s story and raise awareness about Candida auris.

“They think that during the placement of the chest tubes or life support it was probably introduced at that time,” Nicholas Spoor said.

Stephanie Spoor needed a lung transplant but she couldn’t get it until the infection cleared. Doctors tried multiple treatments for the fungus, but none worked.

Cases of C. Auris have appeared in hospitals and nursing homes, mostly affecting people with weakened immune systems.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital has not released a comment about the case.

The Spoor family said the secrecy around the infection needs to change.

“Knowledge is power,” Zachary Spoor said. “People need to know so that people can start doing more research. They need to find medication that can fight this fungus more effectively. I had never heard of it until it affected us.”

Stephanie Spoor was a retired teacher and is being remembered as a woman who loved children and her family.

The Illinois Department of Public Health officials said this infection is rare. Public health officials have been in more than 100 facilities to investigate every clinical case and identify possible exposures.

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