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Molecular Diagnostics in the Times of Surveillance for Candida auris
Open AccessArticle

Hospital Laboratory Survey for Identification of Candida auris in Belgium

Department of Clinical Microbiology, Imelda General Hospital, 2820 Bonheiden, Belgium
Department of Laboratory Medicine and National Reference Centre for Mycosis, University Hospitals of Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Transplantation, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Department of Clinical Microbiology and National Reference Center for Mycosis, University Hospital of Liège, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Quality of Laboratories, Sciensano, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Fungi 2019, 5(3), 84;
Received: 4 August 2019 / Revised: 26 August 2019 / Accepted: 27 August 2019 / Published: 5 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Candida auris)
Candida auris is a difficult-to-identify, emerging yeast and a cause of sustained nosocomial outbreaks. Presently, not much data exist on laboratory preparedness in Europe. To assess the ability of laboratories in Belgium and Luxembourg to detect this species, a blinded C. auris strain was included in the regular proficiency testing rounds organized by the Belgian public health institute, Sciensano. Laboratories were asked to identify and report the isolate as they would in routine clinical practice, as if grown from a blood culture. Of 142 respondents, 82 (57.7%) obtained a correct identification of C. auris. Of 142 respondents, 27 (19.0%) identified the strain as Candida haemulonii. The remaining labs that did not obtain a correct identification (33/142, 23.2%), reported other yeast species (4/33) or failed to obtain a species identification (29/33). To assess awareness about the infection-control implications of the identification, participants were requested to indicate whether referral of this isolate to a reference laboratory was desirable in a clinical context. Over one-third of all respondents (54/142, 38.0%) stated that they would not send the isolate to a reference laboratory, neither for epidemiological reasons nor for identification confirmation or antifungal susceptibility testing. This comprised 41.5% of the laboratories that submitted an identification of C. auris (34/82). Awareness among Belgian microbiologists, therefore, remains inadequate more than two years after C. auris’ emergence in European clinics. Our data confirm high rates of misidentifications with commonly used identification methods. Programs for raising awareness in European hospitals may be warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: Candida auris; Candida haemulonii; laboratory survey; MALDI-TOF; Vitek YST ID Candida auris; Candida haemulonii; laboratory survey; MALDI-TOF; Vitek YST ID
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Dewaele, K.; Lagrou, K.; Frans, J.; Hayette, M.-P.; Vernelen, K. Hospital Laboratory Survey for Identification of Candida auris in Belgium. J. Fungi 2019, 5, 84.

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