Speciation and antifungal susceptibility of Candida isolates from diabetic foot ulcer patients in a tertiary hospital in Kenya


Fungal diabetic foot ulcer infection poses a major health concern with antifungal resistance complicating management of these infections and significantly increasing incidence rates of lower limb amputation.

Principle Instigator
Victor Moses Musyoki

Introduction: Diabetic foot ulcer is the leading cause of hospital admissions, lower limb amputation and death among diabetic patients. Little information is available on fungal isolation in diabetic foot ulcer patients, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed to describe Candida species infecting diabetic foot ulcers in patients receiving clinical care at Kenyatta National Hospital and assess their antifungal susceptibility profile.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study carried out at Kenyatta National Hospital among adult diabetic foot ulcer patients over a three-month period. Species identification of Candida was performed using VITEK - 2 System and further confirmed by Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry. Antifungal susceptibility testing was determined using VITEK-2 System. Data were analysed using WHONET and SPSS.

Results: Among the 152 study patients recruited, 98% (n=149) had type 2 diabetes. Sixty one percent of the participants were male. The mean age of the study participants was 50.7 years (SD 12.9). A total of 36 Candida species were isolated, of which 75% (n=27) were Candida albicans. Candida lusitaniae (8%, n=3) and C. dubliniensis (5%, n=2) were the predominant non-albicans Candida species. The overall prevalence of diabetic foot ulcer candidiasis was 20% (n=31). C. albicans isolates (26%) were resistant to caspofungin, fluconazole, micafungin, and voriconazole but highly susceptible to amphotericin B and flucytosine (81-96%). Non-albicans Candida species isolated were susceptible (90-100%) to a majority of the antifungal agents tested.

Conclusion: Candida albicans was the predominant species isolated and showed low resistance rates to the commonly administered antifungal agents. There is need to include fungal diagnosis in the investigation of diabetic foot ulcer infection.