Candida is a type of fungus called a yeast. It is normally found in and on the body and causes little harm to most people, most of the time. However, Candida can cause a serious infection in the bloodstream or body organs of people who have a weak immune system. When Candida causes a serious infection in the blood, it is called candidemia. Another name for this is invasive candidiasis.
Candida is one of the most common causes of IFI. And, candidemia is the most common blood infection that happens in the hospital. However, most people are not at risk for IFI caused by Candida unless they have certain risk factors (see below).
When someone who has one or more of these risk factors shows general signs of infection, doctors will check for Candida.
It can be hard for doctors to quickly find out what is causing an infection. They may take a sample of blood or body tissue and look at it under the microscope (microscopy) or see if anything grows from it (culture). However, these tests take time and are not always helpful. Different kinds of tests are becoming available that may help doctors more quickly diagnose IFI due to Candida.
It is important for doctors to find out what’s causing the infection as quickly as possible, so an appropriate treatment can be given right away. Even if the doctors find out an IFI is caused by Candida, he or she will want to know the specific type (species) of Candida. Different types of Candida infection may get different treatment.
Treatment will likely include antifungal medicine. The doctors will decide on treatment based on the person and the specific type of Candida infection. If a person has a central venous catheter in place, the doctors may remove it. Often, a health care team will work closely together to treat an IFI. For more information about the IFI care team, visit the I have an IFIsection and click on the question, Who will treat my IFI?
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