New and emerging yeast pathogens.
The most common yeast species that act as agents of human disease are Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, Candida glabrata, Candida parapsilosis, and Cryptococcus neoformans. The incidence of infections by other yeasts has increased during the past decade. The most evident emerging pathogens are Malassezia furfur, Trichosporon beigelii, Rhodotorula species, Hansenula anomala, Candida lusitaniae, and Candida krusei. Organisms once considered environmental contaminants or only industrially important, such as Candida utilis and Candida lipolytica, have now been implicated as agents of fungemia, onychomycosis, and systemic disease. The unusual yeasts primarily infect immunocompromised patients, newborns, and the elderly. The role of central venous catheter removal and antifungal therapy in patient management is controversial. The antibiograms of the unusual yeasts range from resistant to the most recent azoles and amphotericin B to highly susceptible to all antifungal agents. Current routine methods for yeast identification may be insufficient to identify the unusual yeasts within 2 days after isolation. The recognition of unusual yeasts as agents of sometimes life-threatening infection and their unpredictable antifungal susceptibilities increase the burden on the clinical mycology laboratory to pursue complete species identification and MIC determinations. Given the current and evolving medical practices for management of seriously ill patients, further evaluations of the clinically important data about these yeasts are needed.
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