Open Access Open Badges Research article

Epidemiological trends in nosocomial candidemia in intensive care

Matteo Bassetti1*, Elda Righi1, Alessandro Costa2, Roberta Fasce2, Maria Pia Molinari2, Raffaella Rosso1, Franco Bobbio Pallavicini2 and Claudio Viscoli1

Author Affiliations

1 Infectious Diseases Department, S. Martino Hospital and University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy

2 Intensive Care Unit, S. Martino Hospital, Genoa, Italy

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2006, 6:21  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-21

Published: 10 February 2006



Infection represents a frequent complication among patients in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and mortality is high. In particular, the incidence of fungal infections, especially due to Candida spp., has been increasing during the last years.


In a retrospective study we studied the etiology of candidemia in critically ill patients over a five-year period (1999–2003) in the ICU of the San Martino University Hospital in Genoa, Italy.


In total, 182 episodes of candidaemia were identified, with an average incidence of 2.22 episodes/10 000 patient-days/year (range 1.25–3.06 episodes). Incidence of candidemia increased during the study period from 1.25 in 1999 to 3.06/10 000 patient-days/year in 2003. Overall, 40% of the fungemia episodes (74/182) were due to C.albicans, followed by C. parapsilosis(23%), C.glabrata (15%), C.tropicalis (9%) and other species (13%). Candidemia due to non-albicans species increased and this was apparently correlated with an increasing use of azoles for prophylaxis or empirical treatment.


The study demonstrates a shift in the species of Candida causing fungemia in a medical and surgical ICU population during a 5 year period. The knowledge of the local epidemiological trends in Candida species isolated in blood cultures is important to guide therapeutic choices.