Classically, systemic Candida infections in preterm neonates occur at a mean age of 1 month. Over an 18-month period in a Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit we encountered seven cases of severe Candida infection, all in babies below 26 weeks gestation and weighing less than 0.75 kg. The median age of onset was 7 days (range 0-17), with thrombocytopenia, coagulopathy, hypotension, oedema, and skin breakdown being prominent features.
Conclusion: The thin cutaneous barrier may contribute to early onset of systemic Candida infection in preterm infants. The characteristic skin appearance may assist early diagnosis.