Introduction: Oral Candida carriage and infection have been reported to be associated with a greater risk for systemic infection in transplant recipients; however, a systematic analysis of the oral Candida titers and species has not been previously conducted. The objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of oropharyngeal candidiasis, the oral carrier status, Candida titers and species in this population.
Methods: Ninety kidney and heart transplant subjects and 72 age-matched healthy controls were included. Swabs from the oral mucosa and a standardized amount of unstimulated saliva were plated on Chromagar™Candida, and colony-forming units per millilitre were calculated. Initial speciation was based on colony color and was confirmed by standard germ tube, biotyping, or polymerase chain reaction assays.
Results: Infection with C. albicans was detected in seven transplant subjects and none of the controls. The transplant group had significantly higher oral Candida titers than the control group. There were no statistically significant relationships between the dose or type of immunosuppressants and oral Candida titers or infection. A significantly higher percentage of transplant subjects were colonized by more than one species, compared with control subjects. The most frequent species combination in transplant subjects was C. albicans and C. glabrata. C. glabrata was isolated from 13.5% of transplant carriers and none of the controls.
Conclusions: Increased oral Candida infection and carriage titers were found in the transplant population. Although the majority of transplant patients were colonized by C. albicans, C. glabrata appears to emerge as the second most prevalent species.