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Sources of Invasive Candidiasis

Candida lives in and on the body

Candida, the fungus that causes invasive candidiasis, normally lives in the gastrointestinal tract and on skin without causing any problems.1 In people who are at higher risk for the infection, invasive candidiasis may occur when a person’s own Candida yeasts enter the bloodstream, for example, where an intravenous (IV) catheter was inserted or during surgery. Medical equipment or devices, particularly intravenous catheters, can also become contaminated with Candida and allow the fungus to enter the bloodstream. Healthcare workers can also carry Candida on their hands.2,3 There have been a few outbreaks of candidemia linked to healthcare workers’ hands,4,5 so hand hygiene in healthcare settings is important for preventing the spread of infections.

Types of Candida

There are over 150 species of Candida, but only about 15 of these are known to cause infections.6 The most common species that cause infections are C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, and C. krusei.


  1. Nucci M, Anaissie E. Revisiting the source of candidemia: skin or gut? Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Dec 15;33(12):1959-67.
  2. Strausbaugh LJ, Sewell DL, Ward TT, Pfaller MA, Heitzman T, Tjoelker R. High frequency of yeast carriage on hands of hospital personnel. J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Sep;32(9):2299-300.
  3. Yildirim M, Sahin I, Kucukbayrak A, Ozdemir D, Tevfik Yavuz M, Oksuz S, et al. Hand carriage of Candida species and risk factors in hospital personnel. Mycoses. 2007 May;50(3):189-92.
  4. Lupetti A, Tavanti A, Davini P, Ghelardi E, Corsini V, Merusi I, et al. Horizontal transmission of Candida parapsilosis candidemia in a neonatal intensive care unit. J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Jul;40(7):2363-9.
  5. Clark TA, Slavinski SA, Morgan J, Lott T, Arthington-Skaggs BA, Brandt ME, et al. Epidemiologic and molecular characterization of an outbreak of Candida parapsilosis bloodstream infections in a community hospital. J Clin Microbiol. 2004 Oct;42(10):4468-72.
  6. Pappas PG. Invasive candidiasis. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2006 Sep;20(3):485-506.