Congenital Cutaneous Candidiasis: Prompt Systemic Treatment Is Associated With Improved Outcomes in Neonates

David A Kaufman, Sarah A Coggins, Santina A Zanelli, Jörn-Hendrik Weitkamp
Clinical Infectious Diseases 2017 May 15, 64 (10): 1387-1395

Background: Congenital cutaneous candidiasis (CCC) is a challenging diagnosis due to various rash presentations. Inadequate early treatment is associated with high rates of dissemination and death. The effects of early diagnosis, dermatologic presentation, and antifungal treatment on outcomes are lacking.

Methods: CCC cases were reviewed from 2 academic neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) from 2004 to 2015. We defined CCC as a diffuse rash involving the body, extremities, face or scalp, and/or funisitis, presenting in the first week (≤7 days), with identification of Candida species from skin or mucous membrane cultures, and/or by culture or staining of the placenta or umbilical cord.

Results: CCC occurred in 0.1% of all NICU admissions (21 of 19 303) and 0.6% of infants <1000 grams birth weight. Median gestational age of CCC infants was 26 3/7 (range, 23 0/7-40 4/7) weeks. Skin findings were commonly present on the day of birth [median (range): 0 (0-6) days], appearing most frequently as a desquamating, maculopapular, papulopustular, and/or erythematous diffuse rash. When systemic antifungal therapy was started empirically at the time of rash presentation and continued for a median (interquartile range) of 14 (14-15) days, all patients survived and none developed dissemination. Delaying systemic treatment, exclusive use of nystatin, and treating for <10 days was associated with Candida bloodstream dissemination.

Conclusions: CCC is an invasive infection that presents as a diffuse rash in preterm and term infants. Prompt systemic antifungal treatment at the time of skin presentation for ≥14 days prevents dissemination and Candida-related mortality.

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