Species Distribution, Antifungal Susceptibility and Clonal Relatedness of Candida Isolates from Patients in Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units at a Medical Center in Turkey

The aim of this study was to assess species distribution, antifungal susceptibility and clonal relationships among Candida strains isolated from a group of pediatric/neonatal intensive care (PICU/NICU) patients that had a very high mortality rate (76%). The cases of 21 patients (19 with candidemia, 2 with Candida meningitides) treated over a 1-year period in a Turkish hospital PICU and NICU were retrospectively analyzed. Twenty-eight Candida isolates were detected from blood (20), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (2) and other specimens (6). Candida species were identified using the API ID 32C System. Susceptibility testing was done (all 28 isolates) for amphotericin B, fluconazole and itraconazole us- ing the broth microdilution method. Arbitrarily primed polymerase chain reaction (AP-PCR) was used for molecular typing of the 3 most common ones; C. albicans (15), C. parapsilosis (6), and C. pelliculosa (4). Electrophoretic kary- otyping (EK) was done to check clonal identity obtained by AP-PCR. Of the 20 blood isolates, 8 (40%) were C. albi- cans, 12 (60%) were non-albicans Candida, and one of the 2 CSF isolates was C. albicans. The overall species distri- bution was as follows: 15 C. albicans isolates, 6 C. parapsilosis isolates, 4 C. pelliculosa isolates, 2 C. famata isolates and 1 C. tropicalis isolate. Amphotericin B had the best antifungal activity with a MICn of 0.125 pg/ml, and the rates of susceptibility to fluconazole and itraconazole were 93% and 82%, respectively. AP-PCR revealed 11 genotypes (4 were identical pairs, 7 were distinct) among the 15 C. albicans isolates, 2 genotypes (5 were classified in the same type) among the 6 C. parapsilosis isolates, and 4 separate genotypes for the 4 C. pelliculosa isolates. Karyotyping results correlated well with the AP-PCR findings. As indicated in the previous research, our results confirmed that non-albicans Candida species have become more frequently causative agents for invasive fungal infections in the ICU. Transmission of C. albicans and C. pelliculosa was relatively low, but transmission of C. parapsilosis was high, suggesting that more ef- fective control and very strict treatment protocols are needed for patients having high mortality and invasive fungal infection in ICU.

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