Prevalence of Candida co-infection in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis

Arunava Kali, M. V. Pravin Charles, Noyal Mariya Joseph, Sivaraman Umadevi, Shailesh Kumar, Joshy Easow


Candida species are emerging as a potentially pathogenic fungus in patients with broncho-pulmonary diseases. The synergistic growth promoting association of Candida and Mycobacterium tuberculosis has raised increased concern for studying the various Candida spp. and its significance in pulmonary tuberculosis patients during current years.
This study was undertaken with the objective of discovering the prevalence of co-infection caused by different Candida species in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis.
A total of 75 patients with pulmonary tuberculosis diagnosed by sputum Ziehl-Neelsen staining were included in the study. Candida co-infection was confirmed using the Kahanpaa et al. criteria. Candida species were identified using gram stain morphology, germ tube formation, morphology on cornmeal agar with Tween-80, sugar fermentation tests and HiCrome Candida Agar.
Candida co-infection was observed in 30 (40%) of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis. Candida albicans was the most common isolate observed in 50% of the patients with co-infection, followed by C. tropicalis (20%) and C. glabrata (20%). Candida co-infection was found in 62.5% of female patients, while it was observed in only 29.4% of the male patients (P value 0.0133). Mean ± SD age of the patients with C. glabrata infection was 65.83 ± 3.19, while the mean ± SD age of the patients with other Candida infections was 43.25 ± 20.44 (P value 0.0138).
Many patients with pulmonary tuberculosis have co-infection with Candida spp. The prevalence of non-albicans Candida species is increasing and may be associated with inadequate response to anti-tubercular drugs. C. glabrata infection has a strong association with old age.
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