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J Clin Microbiol. 2002 Mar;40(3):826-36.

Ca3 fingerprinting of Candida albicans isolates from human immunodeficiency virus-positive and healthy individuals reveals a new clade in South Africa.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


To examine the question of strain specificity in oropharyngeal candidiasis associated with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, oral samples were collected from 1,196 HIV-positive black South Africans visiting three clinics and 249 Candida albicans isolates were selected for DNA fingerprinting with the complex DNA fingerprinting probe Ca3. A total of 66 C. albicans isolates from healthy black South Africans and 46 from healthy white South Africans were also DNA fingerprinted as controls. Using DENDRON software, a cluster analysis was performed and the identified groups were compared to a test set of isolates from the United States in which three genetic groups (I, II, and III) were previously identified by a variety of genetic fingerprinting methods. All of the characterized South African collections (three from HIV-positive black persons, two from healthy black persons, and one from healthy white persons) included group I, II, and III isolates. In addition, all South African collections included a fourth group (group SA) completely absent in the U.S. collection. The proportion of group SA isolates in HIV-positive and healthy black South Africans was 53% in both cases. The proportion in healthy white South Africans was 33%. In a comparison of HIV-positive patients with and without oropharyngeal symptoms of infection, the same proportions of group I, II, III, and SA isolates were obtained, indicating no shift to a particular group on infection. However, by virtue of its predominance as a commensal and in infections, group SA must be considered the most successful in South Africa. Why group SA isolates represent 53 and 33% of colonizing strains in black and white South Africans and are absent in the U.S. collection represents an interesting epidemiological question.

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