ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202305.0783.v1
Subject: Medicine And Pharmacology, Epidemiology And Infectious Diseases Keywords: Candida; Candidemia; invasive candidiasis; Candida auris; non-albicans candida; COVID-19; antifungal susceptibility; Lebanon; Arab world; EQUAL score
Online: 11 May 2023 (04:37:02 CEST)
Invasive fungal infections, notably candidemia, have been associated with COVID-19. The epidemiology of candidemia has significantly changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. We aim to identify the microbiological profile, resistance rates, and outcomes of COVID-19 associated candidemia (CAC) compared to patients with candidemia not associated with COVID-19. We retrospectively collected data on patients with candidemia admitted to the American University of Beirut Medical Center between 2004 and 2022. We compared the epidemiology of candidemia during and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we compared the outcomes of critically ill patients with CAC to those with candidemia without COVID-19 from March 2020 till March 2022. Among 245 candidemia episodes, 156 occurred prior to the pandemic and 89 during the pandemic. Of the latter, 39 (43.8%) were CAC, most of which (82%) were reported from intensive care units (ICU). Non-albicans Candida (NAC) spp. were predominant throughout the study period (67.7%). Candida auris infection was the most common cause of NAC spp. in CAC. C. glabrata had decreased susceptibility rates to fluconazole and caspofungin during the pandemic period (46.1% and 38.4% respectively). Mortality rate in the overall ICU population during the pandemic was 76.6%, much higher than the previously reported mortality of candidemia from previous studies at our center. There was no significant difference in 30-day mortality between CAC and non-CAC (75.0% vs 78.1%; P =0.76). Performing ophthalmic examination (P = 0.002), CVC removal during the 48 hours following the candidemia (P = 0.008) and identifying the Candida spp. (P = 0.028) were significantly associated with a lower case-fatality rate. The epidemiology of candidemia has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic at our center. Rigorous infection control measures and proper antifungal stewardship are essential to combat highly resistant species like C. auris.