Jump to navigation Jump to search
Agar plate culture of Candida albicans

Candidiasis Main page

Patient Information





Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1];Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ahmed Younes M.B.B.CH [2]

Synonyms and keywords: Candida infection, Candida caused diseases


Candida is a normal commensal of the skin and mucous membranes. The balance between the virulence of the fungus and the host immune defense is responsible avoiding opportunistic infection of candida. Deficiency of cell-mediated immunity or poor general status are the main risk factors for having opportunistic candidiasis. Candidiasis is usually localized to skin and mucous membranes. In rare cases, candidiasis can spread causing candidaemia and distant infection. These cases are usually associated with deficient immunity C. albicans is the main species causing infection in humans more than any other candida species.


Candida Albicans is responsible for the majority of Candida infections.

Localized candidiasis

Oral and esophageal candidasis:

Candida vulvovaginitis:

Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis:

Invasive candidasis


Candida endocarditis:

Candida osteoarticular disease:


Candidiasis can be classified according to the site of infection into:[9]

Localoized mucocutaneous candidiasis
Invasive Candidiasis
Oropharyngeal candidiasis
Esophageal candidiasis
Candida vulvovaginitis
Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis
Candida endophthalmitis
Candida endocarditis
Candida osteoarticular disease


Candida is a normal commensal of skin and mucous membranes. A competent immune system and an intact regenerating healthy skin prevent the virulence of Candida.

Candida Virulence factors

The main virulence factors that mediate the infection:[10]

Patients with candida vulvovaginitis were found to have decreased levels of mannose binding lectins (MBL) . Further investigations revealed that 2 genetic mutations in genes responsible for MBL and IL4 production increase the host susceptibility of getting recurrent candida vulvovaginitis.[11]

Host immune defects

Any condition that compromises cell mediated immunity, worsens the general status of the patient or provide a favorable medium for Candida to form biofilms put the patient at increased risk for having candidiasis.[12]

Conditions that compromises cell mediated immunity:

Conditions that worsens the general condition:

Dentures that provide a favorable media for forming biofilms:

Differential diagnosis

Candidiasis should be differentiated from other diseases presenting with an erythmatous, scaly, annular and pruritic rash. The differentials include the following:

Name of superficial infection Clinical presentation Extension to hair follicle Fungus(i) Systemic disease KOH preparations Morphology in tissue sections
Tinea or ringworm Round lesions with scaly border, accompanied by pruritis and burning Yes; when suppurative known as kerion, when chronic known as Majocchi's granuloma Dermatophytes (Epidermophyton spp., Trichophyton spp., Microsporum spp.) Very rare but can invade the dermis and soft tissues, causing mycetomas Hyphae with or without septations Hyphae cannot be visualized in the keratin with H&E, special stains are needed
Tinea versicolor Hypo and hyperpigmentation in patients with oily and sweaty skin, fine scales when scratching Yes, known as Pityrosporum folliculits Malassezia spp. Systemic infections may occur in premature neonates receiving parenteral nutrition and in other immunosuppressed hosts Yeasts and hyphae (“spaghetti and meat balls”) Faintly basophilic hyphae in the stratum corneum
Tinea nigra Brown to black macule, usually on palms, with some scaling No Phaeoannellomyces werneckii Not described Darkly pigmented, septated, and branching hyphae Pigmented hyphae in the stratum corneum
White piedra Creamy-white, small, soft nodules in hair shafts No Trichosporon spp. Immunosuppressed patients may have lung infiltrates, renal involvement, and fungemia Septate hyphae perpendicular to hair shaft Not used for diagnosis
Black piedra Hard dark nodules in hair shafts No Piedraia hortae Not described Collections of crescent ascospores surrounded by pigmented hyphae Not used for diagnosis
Superficial candidiasis Intertrigo, chronic paronychia, onychodystrophy, cheilitis Yes Candida spp. Yes, particularly in patients with AIDS and depending on the level of immunosuppression Yeasts, pseudohyphae may be observed Fungal elements may be seen through the biopsy, vascular invasion must be determined


  1. Laurent M, Gogly B, Tahmasebi F, Paillaud E (2011). "[Oropharyngeal candidiasis in elderly patients]". Geriatr Psychol Neuropsychiatr Vieil (in French). 9 (1): 21–8. doi:10.1684/pnv.2011.0259. PMID 21586373.
  2. Corsello S, Spinillo A, Osnengo G, Penna C, Guaschino S, Beltrame A; et al. (2003). "An epidemiological survey of vulvovaginal candidiasis in Italy". Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 110 (1): 66–72. PMID 12932875.
  3. Okungbowa FI, Isikhuemhen OS, Dede AP (2003). "The distribution frequency of Candida species in the genitourinary tract among symptomatic individuals in Nigerian cities". Rev Iberoam Micol. 20 (2): 60–3. PMID 15456373.
  4. "Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis - Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology".
  5. Ostrosky-Zeichner L, Pappas PG (2006). "Invasive candidiasis in the intensive care unit". Crit. Care Med. 34 (3): 857–63. doi:10.1097/01.CCM.0000201897.78123.44. PMID 16505666.
  6. Ellis ME, Al-Abdely H, Sandridge A, Greer W, Ventura W (2001). "Fungal endocarditis: evidence in the world literature, 1965-1995". Clin. Infect. Dis. 32 (1): 50–62. doi:10.1086/317550. PMID 11118386.
  7. Dupont B, Drouhet E (1985). "Cutaneous, ocular, and osteoarticular candidiasis in heroin addicts: new clinical and therapeutic aspects in 38 patients". J. Infect. Dis. 152 (3): 577–91. PMID 3897399.
  8. "Candidiasis | Types of Diseses | Fungal Diseases | CDC".
  9. Mayer FL, Wilson D, Hube B (2013). "Candida albicans pathogenicity mechanisms". Virulence. 4 (2): 119–28. doi:10.4161/viru.22913. PMC 3654610. PMID 23302789.
  10. Donders GG, Babula O, Bellen G, Linhares IM, Witkin SS (2008). "Mannose-binding lectin gene polymorphism and resistance to therapy in women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis". BJOG. 115 (10): 1225–31. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01830.x. PMID 18715406.
  11. Pappas PG (2006). "Invasive candidiasis". Infect. Dis. Clin. North Am. 20 (3): 485–506. doi:10.1016/j.idc.2006.07.004. PMID 16984866.