ATLANTA — A serious and sometimes fatal fungus has been diagnosed in 13 people including three from New Jersey.

Candida auris (C. auris) is often resistant to antifungal drugs and occurs mostly in patients who are hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reported it was diagnosed in seven cases between May 2013 and August 2016 and six cases during the fall. Four of those patients died.

The CDC said two of the initial seven cases were diagnosed in the same unnamed New Jersey hospital and another was diagnosed in a  New Jersey resident hospitalized in Maryland. Cases were also diagnosed in New York and Illinois hospitals or long term care facilities, according to the CDC, which did not disclosed the names of the patients or the hospitals.

"We need to act now to better understand, contain and stop the spread of this drug-resistant fungus. This is an emerging threat, and we need to protect vulnerable patients and others," said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

The CDC is still learning about Candida auris. It has been in the United States within the past few years.

“We’re working hard with partners to better understand this fungus and how it spreads so we can improve infection control recommendations and help protect people," Tom Chiller, chief of CDC’s Mycotic Diseases Branch said.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.