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Signa Vitae

Journal of Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

The burden of Candida species colonization in NICU patients: a colonization surveillance study


Fungal infections are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The identification of specific risk factors supports prevention of candidemia in neonates. Effective prophylactic strategies have recently become available, but the identification and adequate management of high-risk infants is still a priority. Prior colonization is a key risk factor for candidemia. For this reason, surveillance studies to monitor incidence, species distribution, and antifungal susceptibility profiles, are mandatory. Among 520 infants admitted to our NICU between January 2013 and December 2014, 472 (90.77%) were included in the study. Forty-eight out of 472 (10.17%) patients tested positive for Candida spp. (C.), at least on one occasion. All the colonized patients tested positive for the rectal swab, whereas 7 patients also tested positive for the nasal swab. Fifteen out of 472 patients (3.18%) had more than one positive rectal or nasal swab during their NICU stay. Moreover, 9 out of 15 patients tested negative at the first sampling, suggesting they acquired Candida spp. during their stay. Twenty-five of forty-eight (52.1%) colonized patients carried C.albicans and 15/48 (31.25%) C.parapsilosis. We identified as risk factors for Candida spp. colonization: antibiotic therapy, parenteral nutrition, the use of a central venous catheter, and nasogastric tube. Our experience suggests that effective microbiological surveillance can allow for implementing proper, effective and timely control measures in a high-risk setting.

Key words: Candida, surveillance, NICU

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Late onset perinatal sepsis in the neonatology intensive care unit – risk factors


The lowest-birth-weight premature is very susceptible for nosocomial infections. These infants require the most invasive therapeutic interventions and the longest exposure to environment conductive for microbial colonization. Incidence of nosocomial infection and risk factors in premature has been compared over two years, 2010 and 2015. We examined the effects of common procedures on the incidence of nosocomial sepsis. Birth weight, distribution of pathogens and the therapeutically procedures had been analysed. We tried to find strategies to minimise the risks for acquiring sepsis. Hospital documentation from neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) has been analysed retrospectively during two different years in the University Hospital Osijek. Incidence of nosocomial sepsis among hospitalised premature has been 8.9% in 2010, and 4.8% in 2015. The highest rate of affected infants weighed below 1,500 g in both periods. Statistically significance in these two periods has been found in the percentage of pre-term infants with umbilical vein catheter (UVC), and in the number of pre-term on invasive mechanical ventilation. The most common pathogen in 2010 was methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE), and in 2015 coagulase negative Staphylococci (CONS). The percentage of Candida parapsylosis was higher in 2015. Lowering the incidence of late-onset sepsis has been accomplished by using peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) and non-invasive mechanical ventilation. Invasive procedures must be avoided as much as possible.

Key words: low-birth-weight pre-term infants, nosocomial infections, risk factors, umbilical venous catheters, NICU, PICC, mechanical ventilation, high-flow nasal cannula

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