The Landscape of Candidemia During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic

Clin Infect Dis. 2022 Mar 9;74(5):802-811. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab562.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented healthcare challenges, and COVID-19 has been linked to secondary infections. Candidemia, a fungal healthcare-associated infection, has been described in patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19. However, studies of candidemia and COVID-19 coinfection have been limited in sample size and geographic scope. We assessed differences in patients with candidemia with and without a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Methods: We conducted a case-level analysis using population-based candidemia surveillance data collected through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infections Program during April-August 2020 to compare characteristics of candidemia patients with and without a positive test for COVID-19 in the 30 days before their Candida culture using chi-square or Fisher's exact tests.

Results: Of the 251 candidemia patients included, 64 (25.5%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Liver disease, solid-organ malignancies, and prior surgeries were each >3 times more common in patients without COVID-19 coinfection, whereas intensive care unit-level care, mechanical ventilation, having a central venous catheter, and receipt of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants were each >1.3 times more common in patients with COVID-19. All-cause in-hospital fatality was 2 times higher among those with COVID-19 (62.5%) than without (32.1%).

Conclusions: One-quarter of candidemia patients had COVID-19. These patients were less likely to have certain underlying conditions and recent surgery commonly associated with candidemia and more likely to have acute risk factors linked to COVID-19 care, including immunosuppressive medications. Given the high mortality, it is important for clinicians to remain vigilant and take proactive measures to prevent candidemia in patients with COVID-19.

Keywords: Candida; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; candidemia; healthcare-associated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 Testing
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Candidemia* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2