A Brazilian Inter-Hospital Candidemia Outbreak Caused by Fluconazole-Resistant Candida parapsilosis in the COVID-19 Era

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JOURNAL OF FUNGI, v.8, n.2, article ID 100, 8p, 2022
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Horizontal transmission of fluconazole-resistant Candida parapsilosis (FRCP) through healthcare workers' hands has contributed to the occurrence of candidemia outbreaks worldwide. Since the first COVID-19 case in Brazil was detected in early 2020, hospitals have reinforced hand hygiene and disinfection practices to minimize SARS-CoV-2 contamination. However, a Brazilian cardiology center, which shares ICU patients with a cancer center under a FRCP outbreak since 2019, reported an increased FRCP candidemia incidence in May 2020. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate an inter-hospital candidemia outbreak caused by FRCP isolates during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil. C. parapsilosis bloodstream isolates obtained from the cancer (n = 35) and cardiology (n = 30) centers in 2020 were submitted to microsatellite genotyping and fluconazole susceptibility testing. The ERG11 gene of all isolates from the cardiology center was sequenced and compared to the corresponding sequences of the FRCP genotype responsible for the cancer center outbreak in 2019. Unprecedentedly, most of the FRCP isolates from the cardiology center presented the same genetic profile and Erg11-Y132F mutation detected in the strain that has been causing the persistent outbreak in the cancer center, highlighting the uninterrupted horizontal transmission of clonal isolates in our hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
inter-hospital transmission, clonal outbreak, candidemia, Candida parapsilosis, microsatellite typing, antifungal agents, azole-resistant, drug resistance mechanisms, ERG11 mutations, COVID-19 pandemic
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