Candida albicans is a diploid fungus (a form of yeast) and a causal agent of opportunistic oral and genital infections in humans
By Ashwani Kumar
| January 22nd 2010 07:14 PM | Print
Candida albicans is a diploid fungus (a form of yeast) and a causal agent of opportunistic oral and genital infections in humans. Systemic fungal infections (fungemias) have emerged as important causes of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients (e.g., AIDS, cancer chemotherapy, organ or bone marrow transplantation). In addition, hospital-related infections in patients not previously considered at risk (e.g., patients in an intensive care unit) have become a cause of major health concern.
C. albicans is commensal and is among the gut flora, the many organisms that live in the human mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Under normal circumstances, C. albicans lives in 80% of the human population with no harmful effects, although overgrowth results in candidiasis. Candidiasis is often observed in immunocompromised individuals such as HIV-positive patients. Candidiasis also may occur in the blood and in the genital tract. Candidiasis, also known as "thrush", is a common condition, usually easily cured in people who are not immunocompromised. To infect host tissue, the usual unicellular yeast-like form of C. albicans reacts to environmental cues and switches into an invasive, multicellular filamentous forms.