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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
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Minerva Pediatrica 2006 December;58(6):537-49


Neonatal invasive candidiasis

Stronati M., Decembrino L.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Policlinico S. Matteo, Pavia, Italy


Over the last two decades, systemic fungal infections have emerged to play a primary role in hospital-acquired infections. C. albicans is involved in 75% of neonatal candidiasis; however, the incidence of infection from C. parapsilosis is also increasing significantly. The higher incidence observed in the high-risk group of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants is linked to their special physical characteristics and the diagnostic and therapeutic invasive procedures they undergo. Colonization is a relevant risk factor depending on the colonized site , the fungal species and the type of colonization. Serological tests have a low specificity and sensitivity; in many cases, they do not distinguish between colonization and infection. Blood culture, although the best diagnostic test for determining systemic infection, can result negative, even in cases of deep organ involvement. In addition, fungi grow more slowly than bacteria in cultures. So, the difficulty in diagnosing systemic candidiasis and its aspecific clinical features may make empirical therapy appropriate. Amphotericin B (AmB) alone or combined with 5-fluorocytosine remains the drug of choice. Fluconazole represents a valid alternative. Recently developed new formulations of amphotericin incapsulated in liposomes can avoid possible adverse effects. Prognosis depends on the specific micro-organism involved; mortality is higher in the presence of C. albicans. As prognosis is associated with high mortality, prevention measures to reduce risk factors are of critical importance.

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