COMBATING INFECTION: Giving thrush a thrashing

November 2006 
Volume 36  Number 11
Pages 17 - 17
  PDF Version Available!



Michelle Snow is working on her PhD in public health at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

ALSO CALLED oropharyngeal candidiasis, thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by Candida fungi. Most cases are caused by an overgrowth of Candida that normally live on the skin or mucous membranes. Overgrowth is most likely to occur in patients who are immunocompromised and in those who've recently taken broad-spectrum antibiotics, which may kill off bacteria that normally keep Candida in check. Other risk factors for thrush include use of inhaled or systemic steroids, wearing dentures or orthodontic appliances, diabetes mellitus, and advanced age.

Not all thrush originates with the patient's own flora. Hospitalized patients may become infected from cross-contamination via caregivers' hands or poorly disinfected multiuse equipment.

Besides thrush, candidiasis can cause diaper rash in infants, vaginal yeast infections in women, and systemic infection ...

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