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Microbiology and Epidemiology
Candida is a small, thin-walled, ovoid yeast that reproduces by budding and occurs in three forms in tissue: blastospores, pseudohyphae, and hyphae.
- Candida is ubiquitous in nature and inhabits the GI tract, the female genital tract, and the skin. Dissemination probably results from fungal entry into the bloodstream from mucosal surfaces after the organisms have multiplied to large numbers as a result of bacterial suppression by antibacterial drugs.
- C. albicans is common, but non-albicans species (e.g., C. glabrata, C. krusei, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis) now cause ~50% of all cases of candidemia and disseminated candidiasis.
- Candida spp. represent the fourth most common blood-culture isolate from hospitalized pts in the United States.
- Pts with a compromised immune system, pts with indwelling catheters, pts with severe burns, and neonates of low birth weight are at risk for hematogenous dissemination.