Aim: To evaluate candidal load and carriage of candidal species in 414 insulin-treated diabetes mellitus patients with and without clinical signs of infection. Host factors that could influence candidal load in diabetic patients with oral candidosis were also investigated.
Methods: Candidal species were recovered from 414 insulin-treated diabetes mellitus patients attending two hospital diabetic clinics, using an oral rinse technique.
Results: Seventy-seven per cent of diabetic patients carried Candida species in their oral cavity, with C. albicans being the species most frequently isolated. C. dubliniensis was found for the first time in this patient group. Forty per cent of patients colonized with candidal species had no clinical signs of oral candidosis. Where oral candidosis was present, erythematous candidosis was the most common clinical presentation. Candidal load was not associated with age, sex or glycaemic control. However, it was significantly increased in those patients who were tobacco smokers, and non-significantly increased in those patients who wore dentures, or who had clinical signs of oral candidosis.
Conclusion: The epidemiology of oral candidal carriage and infections in diabetic patients is complex and includes species which have not been previously reported in this group of patients. The development of oral candidosis in insulin-treated diabetes mellitus patients is not the result of a single entity, but rather, a combination of risk factors.