The Continuing Emergence of <em>Candida blankii</em> as a Pathogenic Fungus: A New Case of Fungemia in a Patient Infected with SARS-CoV-2
J Fungi (Basel). 2022 Feb 9;8(2):166. doi: 10.3390/jof8020166.
Candida blankii is a recently recognized human pathogen, with most cases of the infection being reported in the immunocompromised. We here describe the case of a critically ill elderly woman with COVID-19 who developed a C. blankii bloodstream infection from a femoral central venous catheter. Aspergillus niger was also isolated from her respiratory secretions. The patient was started on voriconazole for empiric coverage of both A. niger, and at that time, unidentified yeast was found in the blood. Fevers persisted, and the patient expired six days after the yeast was first isolated. Almost one month after her death, C. blankii was identified as the cause of fungemia by sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the ribosomal gene and BLAST searching against two databases (performed by a reference laboratory). The isolate demonstrated high minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) to azoles and low MICs to amphotericin B, similar to previously described isolates. Timely identification of C. blankii would have prompted different empiric antifungal choices and possibly changed the final outcome. Clinicians should be aware of the pathological potential of C. blankii, the challenges of correctly identifying the organism, and its susceptibility patterns to common antifungals. There is an urgent need to improve assays for C. blankii identification, which will aid in accurate and timely pathogen identification, and appropriate therapeutic management.