This paper briefly reviews the current knowledge of the epidemiology and modes of transmission of nosocomial fungal infections and some of the therapeutic options for treating these diseases. In the mid-1980s, many institutions reported that fungi were common pathogens in nosocomial infections. Most, if not all, hospitals care for patients at risk for nosocomial fungal infections. The proportion in all nosocomial infections reportedly caused by Candida spp. increased from 2% in 1980 to 5% in 1986 to 1989. Numerous studies have identified common risk factors for acquiring these infections, most of which are very common among hospitalized patients; some factors act primarily by inducing immunosuppression (e.g., corticosteroids, chemotherapy, malnutrition, malignancy, and neutropenia), while others primarily provide a route of infection (e.g., extensive burns, indwelling catheter), and some act in combination. Non-albicans Candida spp., including fluconazole-resistant C. krusei and Torulopsis (C.) glabrata, have become more common pathogens. Newer molecular typing techniques can assist in the determination of a common source of infection caused by several fungal pathogens. Continued epidemiologic and laboratory research is needed to better characterize these pathogens and allow for improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
Fridkin SK, Jarvis WR
Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 1996 Oct;9(4):499-511