Non-albicans Candida species in blood stream infections in a tertiary care hospital at New Delhi, India

Indian J Med Res. 2012 Dec;136(6):997-1003.


Background & objectives: During recent decades, there has been a change in the epidemiology of Candida infections, characterized by a progressive shift from a predominance of Candida albicans to non-albicans Candida species. This study was undertaken to analyze the change in the epidemiology of candidaemia and antifungal use at tertiary care hospital in New Delhi, India, over a period of 10 years.

Methods: A retrospective review of candidaemia between 1999 and 2008 and antifungal use from 2000 to 2008 was performed at Sir Ganga Ram Hosptial, New Delhi. Initially (1999-2005), isolates were differentiated as C. albicans and non- albicans Candida species. Between 2006-2008, these were identified to the species level and antifungal susceptibility was performed.

Results: The occurrence of candidaemia and total antifungal use increased significantly. Candidaemia due to non-albicans species increased and this was correlated with an increasing use of fluconazole. There was emergence and increased isolation of a novel species C. haemulonii with decreased susceptibility to both amphotericin B and azoles. Overall, sensitivities of 89.6, 90.9, 88.6, 68.8 and 54.3 per cent to amphotericin B, 5 flucytosine, voriconazole, fluconazole and itraconazole, respectively were observed. Cross-resistance or reduced susceptibility to both fluconazole (MIC >16 μg/ml) and voriconazole was observed in 11.3 per cent isolates.

Interpretation & conclusions: The study demonstrates a shift to non-albicans Candida species causing fungaemia and the emergence of amphotericin B and azole resistant novel species, C. haemulonii. Decreased susceptibility to fluconazole, as well as the threat of emergence of cross-resistance to voriconazole in the background of high azole consumption may limit the use of these agents as a presumptive therapy for Candida blood stream infections (BSI).

MeSH terms

  • Amphotericin B / pharmacology
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antifungal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Candida / genetics
  • Candidiasis / blood
  • Candidiasis / drug therapy*
  • Candidiasis / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Fluconazole / pharmacology
  • Flucytosine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • India / epidemiology
  • Itraconazole / pharmacology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / methods*
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tertiary Care Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Triazoles / pharmacology
  • Voriconazole


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Pyrimidines
  • Triazoles
  • Itraconazole
  • Amphotericin B
  • Fluconazole
  • Flucytosine
  • Voriconazole