Background: We have previously demonstrated efficacy against fungal colonization and infection of fluconazole prophylaxis that was routinely administered since 2001 in our ICU for preterm infants <1500 g at birth (VLBW). With prolonged use, concerns exist for the emergence of acquired fungal resistance and of Candida subspecies that are natively fluconazole-resistant (NFR), mostly Candida glabrata and Candida krusei.
Methods: We evaluated retrospectively all clinical and surveillance fungal isolates obtained from VLBW infants in our NICU during a 10-year period (1997-2006). Each fungal isolate was speciated, infants colonized or infected with NFR-Candida spp were identified and the incidence rates of colonization and infection by these fungal species were calculated. A comparison was made of the 6-year (2001-2006) prophylaxis period with the 4-year (1997-2000) preprophylaxis period.
Results: Overall, colonization by NFR-Candida spp ranged between 2.8% and 6.6% of VLBW infants yearly admitted, without any increasing trend during the study period. There were 18 of 434 (4.1%) neonates colonized by these species. Five episodes of systemic fungal infections caused by NFR-Candida spp occurred (incidence rate, 1.1%). No significant differences were detected when compared with the preprophylaxis period, when 11 of 295 infants (3.7%) were colonized by NFR-Candida spp and 4 episodes of infection occurred (1.4%) (P = 0.84 and 0.76, respectively).
Conclusions: Fluconazole prophylaxis administered to VLBW neonates in 4- to 6-week courses after birth does not lead to the emergence of natively fluconazole-resistant Candida spp.