Changing trends: an overview of increasing burden of fungal infections from a tertiary care hospital in Punjab (north India)
Background: Fungal infections are an emerging group of infections particularly affecting immunocompromised individuals and those with indwelling medical devices. Spectrum of fungal pathogens is wide which include yeasts like Candida and Cryptococcus and filamentous fungi like Aspergillus and Zygomycetes.
Materials and methods: A retrospective study was conducted over a period of five years in the department of Microbiology in a tertiary care hospital in North India. Various clinical samples were collected from the patients presenting with clinically suspected fungal infections. Direct microscopy with potassium hydroxide (KOH) was done to visualize the presence of fungal elements and Gram staining was done for any suspected yeast infection. Fungal cultures of all samples were inoculated on Sabourauds dextrose agar (SDA).
Results: A total of 5724 clinical samples with suspected fungal etiology were received in the Microbiology laboratory during the study period. From a total of 689 isolates which came positive, Candida sp. was the most common isolate accounting for 520 (75.4 %), followed by Aspergillus species 110 (15.9 %), Mucor species 34 (4.9 %), Cryptococcus species 9 (1.3 %), Penicillium species 8 (1.2 %), Dermatophytes 4 (0.6 %), Fusarium sp. 3 (0.4%) and Acremonium sp. 1 (0.1%).
Conclusions: Fungal infections share a good amount in the burden of increased morbidity and mortality in the diseased. Regular surveillance studies are important to determine the prevalence of different fungal infections in various centers.
Keywords: Fungus, candida, aspergillus, zygomycetes, India.
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