Invasive fungal infection is an uncommon, but increasing cause of morbidity and mortality in neonates. There are few controlled studies defining risk factors for the development of fungal infection in a contemporary neonatal population. This retrospective case-control study was undertaken to investigate antenatal, demographic and postnatal variables that may be potentially important in the development of fungal infection. Two gestation-matched controls were identified for each index case. Information about perinatal and demographic variables, as well as important neonatal outcomes, was obtained from case notes. Microbiological data collected included the presence of fungal colonization, and organisms responsible for invasive fungal infection. Over a 5-y period, 24 infants with invasive fungal infection and 48 controls were identified. Candida albicans was the organism identified in 75% of cases of fungal septicaemia, and in all cases complicated by fungal meningitis. Preceding fungal colonization, pulmonary haemorrhage and intrauterine growth restriction were factors significantly and independently associated with invasive fungal infection. Fifty-four percent of infants with invasive fungal infection died, and 82% of survivors developed chronic lung disease.
Conclusion: Some new and potentially important risk factors for the development of invasive fungal infection in a contemporary population of infants admitted to a neonatal intensive care were identified.