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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998 Jul;46(7):849-53.

Risk factors for colonization with yeast species in a Veterans Affairs long-term care facility.

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Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48105, USA.



To assess colonization and serious infection with yeasts and the risk factors that are associated with colonization by these organisms.


Monthly surveillance for colonization and infection over a period of 2 years.


A long-term-care facility (LTCF) attached to an acute-care Veterans Affairs Medical Center.


The 543 men and 10 women in the facility.


Colonization and serious infection rates with yeasts. Analysis of risk factors associated with yeast colonization of residents.


Colonization rates were relatively stable during the 2-year period (53+/-1.8% patients colonized per month). Candida albicans was the most common colonizer, found in 35+/-.9% of patients colonized per month. The pharynx was the most commonly colonized site, with 41+/-1.4% of patients per month with pharyngeal colonization. Eighty-four percent of patients remaining in the facility for 3 or more months were colonized by yeast at some time during their stay. Presence of neurogenic bladder, leg amputation, or a low serum albumin were independently associated with yeast colonization; neither diabetes mellitus nor functional status was a risk factor for colonization by yeasts. Only four serious yeast infections in four patients (esophagitis and three urinary tract infections) were found during the 2-year period; all infections occurred in patients who were colonized by yeasts previously.


In our LTCF, colonization of patients by yeasts occurred commonly in those residents remaining in the facility for 3 or more months. However, serious yeast infections occurred infrequently. It is likely that colonization of residents of LTCFs by yeasts may only become clinically important when the patient is transferred to an acute-care hospital where additional risk factors may allow the development of serious yeast infection.

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