Purpose of review
To provide an overview of the treatment of Candida infections from the perspective of the infectious disease clinician in the community. An insight is given into relevant issues as they apply to clinical practice. As community hospitals strive to provide state-of-the-art medical care to critically ill patients, effective infection control programs and the infectious disease consultation availability become indispensable.
Candida infections rank as the fourth most common cause of nosocomial bloodstream infections. Although C. albicans remains the most common pathogen, emerging trends in invasive candidiasis are notable for a dramatic increase in infections due to non-albicans Candida species, reflecting changes in clinical practice. These trends affect our practice because infections with non-albicans species raise concerns for inherent decreased antifungal susceptibility, ultimately impacting our preventive, empirical and therapeutic approaches. It seems inevitable for most acutely ill patients today to be admitted to the intensive care unit, thus increasing their risk for nosocomial infections. In addition, cost containment efforts may force patients receiving intravenous therapy into less supervised environments, potentially increasing their risk for candidemia.
Potentially fatal Candida infections are commonplace in seriously ill hospitalized patients. The infectious disease physician is challenged to develop expertise in using the newly introduced antifungal agents, applying evidence-based guidelines developed from quality randomized clinical trials. The infectious disease specialist is called to play a multidisciplinary role formulating infection control policies, developing drug formularies, educating the staff and treating the sickest patients. Infection surveillance in local communities coupled with available antifungal agents may improve our management of Candida infections.