A former US health official has called on the Australian government to introduce a notification system for a highly infectious, deadly fungus.
Dr Marion Kainer told AAP doctors in the US are required to notify their state health department, who warn federal authorities, when they detect the drug-resistant bug Candida auris.
But the former infectious disease director at the Tennessee Department of Health says no such system exists in Australia and there's no data on the fungus in the country.
Candida auris is a fungus that lives on people's skin and can infect blood when the skin is punctured, with the bug only attacking people with weakened immune systems.
Dr Kainer, who now works for Western Health in Melbourne, also called for better education around the fungus as it was often mistaken for Candida fungus, a common yeast infection.
Dr Kainer said any medical patients coming from overseas should also be isolated and tested for the fungus.
She said it quickly spreads in hospitals and nursing homes and is highly resistant to antibiotics and hospital disinfectants.
She said it was easily transferred between people and, because it was resistant to cleaners, could stay on surfaces on equipment.
Dr Kainer said healthy people could still carry the bug.
"And as long as their immune system is really good, they never know that they have got it on their skin," Dr Kainer said.
"So it can be a silent spreader."
She said people with weakened immune systems - like cancer patients or organ recipients - receiving intravenous lines or being injected with needles could catch the disease.
Dr Kainer said about 30 to 40 per cent of the people detected with the bug in the US had died but she said this wasn't directly attributable, as these people were already sick.
Regardless, she described the virus as having a "high mortality rate" and for every infection detected, there was possibly up to 20 people carrying the bug.