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).