What is cutaneous candidiasis?

Updated: Jan 17, 2020
  • Author: Richard Harold "Hal" Flowers, IV, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Cutaneous candidiasis and other forms of candidiasis are infections caused by the yeast Candida albicans or other Candida species. Yeasts are unicellular fungi that typically reproduce by budding, which entails progeny pinching off of the mother cell. C albicans, the principal infectious agent in human infection, is an oval yeast 2-6 µm in diameter.

Superficial infections of skin and mucous membranes are the most common types of cutaneous candidiasis. These include intertrigo, diaper dermatitis, erosio interdigitalis blastomycetica, perianal dermatitis, and candidal balanitis. Candidal infections of the skin have become more prevalent in recent years, principally because of the increased numbers of immunocompromised patients. Less common types of candidiasis include esophagitis, septicemia, endocarditis, peritonitis, and urinary tract infections.

Although C albicans is the most common cause of human infection, the genus Candida includes more than 150 species. Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis, Candida guilliermondi, Candida krusei, Candida kefyr, Candida zeylanoides, and Candida glabrata (formerly Torulopsis glabrata) are less common causes of human disease. Candida auris is an emerging pathogen often showing antifungal resistance.

Humans carry yeast, including Candida species, throughout the gastrointestinal tract (mouth through anus) as part of the normal commensal flora. The vagina is commonly colonized by yeast, most often by C albicans and C glabrata. The commensal oral isolation of candidal species ranges from 30-60% in healthy adults. [1] Candida species are not part of the normal flora of the skin but may colonize fingers or body folds transiently.

Also see the articles Mucosal Candidiasis and Candidiasis.


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