Distribution, antifungal susceptibility pattern and intra-Candida albicans species complex prevalence of Candida africana: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLoS One. 2020 Aug 20;15(8):e0237046. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0237046. eCollection 2020.


Candida africana is a pathogenic species within the Candida albicans species complex. Due to the limited knowledge concerning its prevalence and antifungal susceptibility profiles, a comprehensive study is overdue. Accordingly, we performed a search of the electronic databases for literature published in the English language between 1 January 2001 and 21 March 2020. Citations were screened, relevant articles were identified, and data were extracted to determine overall intra-C. albicans complex prevalence, geographical distribution, and antifungal susceptibility profiles for C. africana. From a total of 366 articles, 41 were eligible for inclusion in this study. Our results showed that C. africana has a worldwide distribution. The pooled intra-C. albicans complex prevalence of C. africana was 1.67% (95% CI 0.98-2.49). Prevalence data were available for 11 countries from 4 continents. Iran (3.02%, 95%CI 1.51-4.92) and Honduras (3.03%, 95% CI 0.83-10.39) had the highest values and Malaysia (0%) had the lowest prevalence. Vaginal specimens were the most common source of C. africana (92.81%; 155 out of 167 isolates with available data). However, this species has also been isolated from cases of balanitis, from patients with oral lesions, and from respiratory, urine, and cutaneous samples. Data concerning the susceptibility of C. africana to 16 antifungal drugs were available in the literature. Generally, the minimum inhibitory concentrations of antifungal drugs against this species were low. In conclusion, C. africana demonstrates geographical variation in prevalence and high susceptibility to antifungal drugs. However, due to the relative scarcity of existing data concerning this species, further studies will be required to establish more firm conclusions.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Candida / drug effects*
  • Candida / genetics*
  • Candida / metabolism*
  • Candida albicans / drug effects
  • Candida albicans / pathogenicity
  • Candidiasis, Vulvovaginal / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Fungal / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Vagina / microbiology


  • Antifungal Agents