Different scenarios for Candida parapsilosis fungaemia reveal high numbers of mixed C. parapsilosis and Candida orthopsilosis infections

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Nosocomial fungal bloodstream infections (BSI) are increasing significantly in hospitalized patients and Candida parapsilosis has emerged as an important pathogen responsible for numerous outbreaks. The objective of this study was to evaluate C. parapsilosis sensu lato infection scenarios, regarding species distribution and strain relatedness. One hundred isolates of C. parapsilosis sensu lato derived from blood cultures and catheter tips were analysed by multiplex microsatellite typing and by sequencing D1/D2 regions of the ribosomal DNA. Our results indicate that 9.5 % of patients presented infections due to C. parapsilosis and Candida orthopsilosis, 57.1 % due to C. parapsilosis, 28.3 % due to C. orthopsilosis and 4.8 % due to Candida metapsilosis. Eighty per cent of the C. parapsilosis BSIs were due to a single strain that was also identified in the catheter, but in 10 % of the cases C. parasilosis was identified in the catheter but the BSI was due to C. orthopsilosis. There is a significant probability that C. parapsilosis isolates collected from the same patient at more than 3 months interval are of different strains (P=0.0179). Moreover, several isolates were identified persistently in the same hospital, infecting six different patients. The incidence of polyfungal BSI infections with C. parapsilosis and C. orthopsilosis is reported herein for the first time, emphasizing the fact that the species identified in the catheter is not always responsible for the BSI, thus impacting the treatment strategy. The observation that strains can remain in the hospital environment for years highlights the possible existence of reservoirs and reinforces the need for accurate genotyping tools, such as the markers used for elucidating epidemiological associations and detecting outbreaks.

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