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Invasive Candidiasis Risk & Prevention

Who gets invasive candidiasis?

Most cases of invasive candidiasis occur in people who have recently been admitted to a hospital or been in contact with other healthcare settings such as nursing homes. People who are at high risk for developing invasive candidiasis include:1

  • Patients who have a central venous catheter
  • Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU)
  • People who have weakened immune systems (for example, people who have had an organ transplant,  have HIV/AIDS, or are on cancer chemotherapy)
  • People who have taken broad-spectrum antibiotics
  • People who have a very low neutrophil (a type of white blood cell) count (neutropenia)
  • People who have kidney failure or are on hemodialysis
  • Patients who have had surgery, especially gastrointestinal surgery
  • Patients who have diabetes

Is invasive candidiasis contagious?

Invasive candidiasis doesn’t spread directly from person to person. However, some species of the fungus that causes invasive candidiasis normally live on skin, so it’s possible that Candida can be passed from one person to another and possibly cause an infection in someone who is at high risk.2,3

How can invasive candidiasis be prevented?

  • Antifungal medication. If you’re at high risk for developing invasive candidiasis, your healthcare provider may prescribe antifungal medication to prevent the infection. This is called “antifungal prophylaxis,” and it is typically recommended for:4
    • Some organ transplant patients
    • High-risk ICU patients
    • Chemotherapy patients who have neutropenia
    • Stem cell transplant patients who have neutropenia
  • Some doctors may also consider giving antifungal prophylaxis to very low birth weight infants (less than 2.2 pounds) in nurseries with high rates of invasive candidiasis.
  • Be a safe patient. There are some actions that you can take to help protect yourself from infections, including:
    • Speak up. Patients and caregivers can ask how long a central venous catheter (central line) is needed, and if so, how long it should stay in place. Tell your doctor if the skin around the catheter becomes red or painful.
    • Keep hands clean.  Be sure everyone cleans their hands before touching you. Washing hands can prevent the spread of germs.
    • For more tips, please see CDC’s webpage about What You Can Do to Be a Safe Patient.
  • Healthcare providers can follow CDC-recommended infection control practices every time they work with a central line. For more prevention information, please visit CDC’s Healthcare-Associated Infections website.


  1. Pfaller MA, Diekema DJ. Epidemiology of invasive candidiasis: a persistent public health problem. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2007 Jan;20(1):133-63.
  2. Strausbaugh LJ, Sewell DL, Ward TT, Pfaller MA, Heitzman T, Tjoelker R. High frequency of yeast carriage on hands of hospital personnel. J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Sep;32(9):2299-300.
  3. Yildirim M, Sahin I, Kucukbayrak A, Ozdemir D, Tevfik Yavuz M, Oksuz S, et al. Hand carriage of Candida species and risk factors in hospital personnel. Mycoses. 2007 May;50(3):189-92.
  4. 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):503-35.