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Keywords:

  • Candida albicans;
  • systemic candidosis;
  • newborns;
  • PFGE;
  • nosocomial infection;
  • nurses;
  • Tunisia

Summary

Candida albicans has become an important cause of nosocomial infections in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The aim of the present study was to compare C. albicans strains isolated from neonates (NN) suffering from systemic candidosis and from nurses in order to determine the relatedness between NN and health workers’ strains. Thirty-one C. albicans strains were isolated from 18 NN admitted to the NICU of the neonatology service of Farhat Hached Hospital of Sousse, Tunisia and suffering from systemic candidosis, together with five strains recovered from nurses suffering from C. albicans onychomycosis. Two additional strains were tested, one from an adult patient who developed a systemic candidosis and the second from an adult with inguinal intertrigo. All strains were karyotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) with a CHEF-DR II system. Analysis of PFGE patterns yielded by the 38 strains tested led to the identification of three pulsotypes that were designated I, II and III, and consisted of six chromosomal bands with a size ranging from 700 to >2500 kbp. The most widespread was the pulsotype I, which was shared by 17 NN and the five nurses’ strains. The identity between NN and nurses’ strains is very suggestive of a nosocomial acquisition from health-workers.