Objectives: Candidaemia caused by Candida parapsilosis (CP) is being increasingly reported among infants in neonatal intensive care units (NICU). To assess relative severity, clinical manifestations of candidaemia caused by C. albicans (CA) and CP in a NICU were compared. Methods: Between January 1994 and July 1997, episodes of candidaemia occurring among infants hospitalized in the NICU were identified in a children's hospital. The demographic characteristics, associated risk factors, clinical manifestations and outcome of the infants with CP fungaemia were collected and compared with those of the infants with CA fungaemia. Results: Twenty-four episodes caused by CA and 22 episodes caused by CP were included in this study. No significant differences were found between the two groups for gestational age, birth weight, male gender, post-natal age at onset of candidaemia, frequency of antecedent neonatal events, prior duration of antibiotic therapy and hyperalimentation, as well as presence of central venous catheter (CVC). Infants with CA fungaemia were significantly more likely than those with CP fungaemia to present with hypoxaemia, bradycardia and respiratory distress requiring intubation, and have a longer prior duration of indwelling CVC and a higher dissemination rate. The eradication rate of candidaemia and overall case fatality rate were comparable in both groups, but CP fungaemia did not appear to cause acute lethal events. Conclusions: The presenting signs of CP fungaemia are relatively not so severe, but CP fungaemia, which is relatively difficult to eradicate, increases the morbidity and mortality of the infants. (C) 2000 The British Infection Society.
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