CANDIDA, A HUMAN PATHOGEN AND MAJOR TYPES OF CANDIDIASISAbstract
The fungus candida with over 355 species is an anamorphic yeast. It consists of over 20 human pathogenic species which are the cause of candidiasis. Candidiasis encompasses infections that range from superficial, such as oral thrush and vaginitis, to systematic and potentially life-threatening diseases. Candida species are opportunistic human pathogens which despite treatment with antifungal drugs can cause fatal infections in immune-compromised and immune-deficient patients. C. albicans, C. glabrata, C. tropicalis and C. parapsilosis, together account for about 95% of identifiable Candida infections. C. albicans, considered to be the most serious cause of candidiasis, is a diploid, polymorphic yeast producing three morphologic forms: yeast cells, pseudohyphae, and true hyphae. This phenotypic switching plays a vital role in virulence. Since invasive yeast infections are associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality so rapid and accurate identification can contribute to successful therapy, earlier resolution of infections and subsequent reduction of moribund outcomes. CHROM agar candida, a type of chromogenic medium, based on species-specific enzyme activity, has been found to be a medium of choice for isolation and identification of candida species from clinical samples. This review is mainly focused on the diversity of candida, its polymorphism and various identification techniques used for proper diagnosis and prevention of candida infection, thus improving the prognosis for a wide range of patients.