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PLoS One. 2017 Aug 30;12(8):e0182292. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182292. eCollection 2017.

Population structure and molecular genetic characterization of clinical Candida tropicalis isolates from a tertiary-care hospital in Kuwait reveal infections with unique strains.

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Microbiology, Department of Medical Laboratories, Al-Amiri Hospital, Sharq, Kuwait.
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait.


Candida tropicalis is a frequently isolated yeast species causing bloodstream, urinary tract and other infections particularly in patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) and those requiring prolonged urinary catheterization (UC) or receiving broad-spectrum antibiotics (BSA). This study investigated clinical characteristics and genetic relatedness among C. tropicalis strains isolated from patients at Al-Amiri Hospital in Kuwait. C. tropicalis strains (n = 63) isolated from blood, genito-urinary, respiratory (RT) and digestive (GIT) tracts and wound sites from 54 patients were used. All isolates were phenotypically identified and tested against six antifungal drugs by using Vitek 2 system. Molecular identification was performed by PCR amplification of rDNA. Fingerprinting was achieved by 6-loci-based multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and data were analyzed by BioNumerics software for phylogenetic relationships. Patients mean age was >65 years and >20% patients were hospitalized in ICUs. Most patients had underlying conditions that included UC, BSA, diabetes and RT/GIT abnormalities. Most candiduria cases had UC, ureteric stent or suprapubic catheters. All isolates were identified as C. tropicalis by Vitek 2 and by species-specific PCR. Sixty-two isolates were susceptible to all tested antifungal drugs. MLST identified 59 diploid sequence types (DSTs) including 54 newly-identified DSTs. C. tropicalis isolates from multiple sites of same patient usually belonged to different DSTs. Interestingly, 56 of 57 isolates from 48 patients belonged to unique genotypes. Only six isolates from six patients belonged to three DSTs (clusters), however, C. tropicalis strains in each cluster were isolated >3 months apart. Our data show diverse origins of C. tropicalis infections in Kuwait as most isolates were unique strains. There was no obvious correlation between cluster isolates with time of isolation and/or hospital ward of their origin. This study presents the first MLST analysis of C. tropicalis isolates from Middle East and may be useful for studying genetic relationships among global C. tropicalis strains.

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