Persistence of the same Candida albicans strain despite fluconazole therapy. Documentation by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis.
Candida albicans and other Candida species have emerged as major nosocomial pathogens associated with a high mortality. Therapeutic options for fungal infections are limited. Amphotericin B has been the mainstay of treatment for serious systemic candidal infections, but it is relatively toxic and associated with a variety of side effects. Fluconazole has been proposed as alternative therapy for the treatment of systemic candidiasis including candidemia. We report the case of a patient with fungemia in whom fluconazole failed to eradicate C. albicans and C. tropicalis. These pathogens were recovered from sputum and urine cultures, respectively, on day 12 of intravenous fluconazole therapy. Molecular epidemiologic techniques employing pulsed-field gel electrophoresis confirmed the persistence of the same C. albicans strain. Susceptibility studies showed a marked change in MICs of fluconazole between 24 and 48 hr, with an increase from less than or equal to 1.25 to greater than 80 micrograms/ml. Controlled trials will be needed to delineate the role of fluconazole in the treatment of disseminated candidiasis and its efficacy in comparison with amphotericin B. Amphotericin B should remain the drug of choice for such infections until data from controlled trials are available.
Blumberg, HM; Hendershot, EF; Lott, TJ
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