Candida and Invasive Fungal Infections

Invasive fungal infections due to Candida species is recognized as a major cause of morbidity and mortality. There are at least fifteen distinct Candida species that cause invasive disease in humans, but over 90% of those diseases are caused by the five most common pathogens, C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. tropicalis, C. parapsilosis, and C. krusei. Each of these organisms has unique virulence potential, antifungal susceptibility, and epidemiology, and are therefore referred to as invasive candidiasis.

Invasive candidiasis is one of the most important fungal infections detected among hospitalized individuals worldwide. In European and North American intensive care units, Candida has been found to be the second most common infection after Staphylococcus aureus. In the U.S., Candida is presently the third leading cause of catheter-related bloodstream infections.

Because Candida is so difficult to isolate in patients, RealTime Labs developed a PCR test to identify Candida within a patient.

Aspergillus and Fungal Infections

Aspergillus species is a notable cause of life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. The at-risk population is comprised of patients going through cancer treatment, allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), solid organ transplant (SOT), inherited or acquired immunodeficiencies, corticosteroid use, among others.

Forms of infections include Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA), Aspergillus sinusitis, disseminated aspergillosis, and several types of single-organ IA. Invasive fungal infections can cause disability and death. Patients can get fungal infections, especially Aspergillus, while receiving care for other diseases in a healthcare facility.

The high mortality rate associated with Aspergillus remains between 30-50%. Most importantly is the delay in initiating appropriate antifungal therapy. This delay is caused by the time needed for conventional cultures or histopathology straining to identify and speciate the fungal organisms.

When should patients be tested for Aspergillus and/or Candida infections?

If a patient meets criteria established by the clinician to consider a fungal or yeast infection.