Fungal Infections

Species/common name

Candida parapsilosis complex: divided into three groups/species on the basis of molecular analysis:

  • C. parapsilosis: 92% of isolates
  • C. orthopsilosis: 6% of isolates
  • C. metapsilosis: 2% of isolates

Natural habitat:

Insects, soil, domestic animals, marine environments. It is a commensal part of the human microbiome; isolated from mucosal surfaces, skin and nails. Frequently isolated from physical surfaces in hospital environments


Universal distribution


Varies with geographical region; blood culture yield 12-20% of all Candida spp. Second or third most common Candida species after C. albicans causing candidaemia.


Invasive candidiasis, usually in non-immunocompromised patients. Catheter and intravenous line infections (often forming biofilms). Associated with an extended hospital stay. Rare cause of primary mucosal infection such as vaginal candidosis. May cause urinary tract infection, endocarditis, peritonitis, joint infection and meningitis. Very rare cause of endophthalmitis, in contrast to C. albicans.

Culture peculiarities

Pin-like colonies on CHROMagar. Appearance on Columbia Horse Blood Agar & SAB is white to cream, and smooth in texture.

Microscopic appearance

Small, oblong-to-round cells.

Antifungal resistance (intrinsic and acquired)

Usually fully susceptible, with C. parapsilosis (but not C. orthopsilosis nor C. metapsilosis) being less susceptible to caspofungin, micafungin and anidulafungin. Occasional acquired resistance to all azole drugs with no inherent/intrinsic resistance to azoles noted in literature. Biofilm formation is a significant factor in multidrug resistance. Possibly not killed so effectively by amphotericin B.

Biosafety level 2

This organism should be handled in a cabinet matching safety level 2 requirements.

Industrial use
Stereospecific biosynthesis of chiral alcohols, xylitol and xylulose production.
Key reading
van Asbeck EC, Clemons KV, Stevens DA. Candida parapsilosis: a review of its epidemiology, clinical aspects, typing and antimicrobial susceptibility. Critical Reviews in Microbiology 2009; 35: 283-309.


Infection of implanted devices and line infections are disproportionately commonly caused by C. parapilosis, in this case pacemaker leads.

CHROMAgar™ image of Candida parapsilosis

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