Carriage and acquisition of Candida spp and Candida albicans biotypes were studied among 163 neonates and 90 staff in a neonatal intensive care and surgical unit during a 17 week period. Twenty one neonates carried yeasts in the mouth, rectum or groin when first sampled, and a further 25 were positive later. C albicans accounted for 94.7% of 431 yeast isolates from neonates but only 67.4% of 43 isolates from staff. The first isolated C albicans biotype persisted in 13 babies monitored longitudinally. Simultaneous colonisation with two Candida spp was found in 2/46 neonates and 5/33 staff. The prevalence of candida was significantly higher among babies of gestational age less than 28 weeks (65%) than those of higher gestational age (26%). Oral and/or crural candida infection was observed in 14 of the babies but none developed deep seated candidosis. Routine antifungal prophylaxis did not affect the frequency of yeasts among the neonates.
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