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Definition of Invasive Candidiasis

Photomicrograph of the fungus Candida albicans

What is invasive candidiasis?

Invasive candidiasis is an infection caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida.  Unlike Candida infections in the mouth and throat (also called “thrush”) or vaginal “yeast infections,” which are localized to one part of the body,  invasive candidiasis is a serious infection that can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones, or other parts of the body.1

Candida normally lives in the gastrointestinal tract and on skin without causing any problems.2 However, in certain patients who are at risk, Candida can enter the bloodstream and cause an infection. A Candida bloodstream infection, which is the most common form of invasive candidiasis, is called candidemia,.1 In the United States, candidemia is one of the most common causes of bloodstream infections in hospitalized patients,3-4 and it often results in long hospital stays, high medical costs, and poor outcomes.5

Invasive candidiasis can be treated with antifungal medication, and antifungal medication is often given to prevent the infection from developing in certain patient groups.6


  1. Pappas PG. Invasive candidiasis. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2006 Sep;20(3):485-506.
  2. Nucci M, Anaissie E. Revisiting the source of candidemia: skin or gut? Clin Infect Dis. 2001 Dec 15;33(12):1959-67.
  3. Wisplinghoff H, Bischoff T, Tallent SM, Seifert H, Wenzel RP, Edmond MB. Nosocomial bloodstream infections in US hospitals: analysis of 24,179 cases from a prospective nationwide surveillance study. Clin Infect Dis. 2004 Aug 1;39(3):309-17.
  4. Magill SS, Edwards JR, Bamberg W, Beldavs ZG, Dumyati G, Kainer MA, et al. Multistate point-prevalence survey of health care-associated infections. The New England journal of medicine. 2014 Mar 27;370(13):1198-208.
  5. Morgan J, Meltzer MI, Plikaytis BD, Sofair AN, Huie-White S, Wilcox S, et al. Excess mortality, hospital stay, and cost due to candidemia: a case-control study using data from population-based candidemia surveillance. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2005 Jun;26(6):540-7.
  6. Pappas PG, Kauffman CA, Andes D, Benjamin DK, Jr., Calandra TF, Edwards JE, Jr., et al. Clinical practice guidelines for the management of candidiasis: 2009 update by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Clin Infect Dis. 2009 Mar 1;48(5):503-