The frequencies of the carriage of yeast pathogens and of serum precipitins to a variety of candida antigens among 254 patients generally tended to increase with the length of the patient's stay in hospital. This trend was observed even though none of the patients investigated showed signs or symptoms of superficial or systemic candidosis. The extent of the general trend varied considerably between subgroups of patients within the general categories of 'surgical' and 'nonsurgical' inpatients. Increases in both frequencies and quantities of yeasts in the mouth were most evident postoperatively among patients who underwent open-heart surgery and among nonsurgical patients who received antibiotics or steroids in hospital. The frequency of precipitins to Candida albicans cytoplasmic antigens in the absence of candidosis rose overall from 11% of 217 sera obtained within 24 hours of admission to 35% of 85 sera obtained five to 11 days after admission or operation. These 'false positive' antibodies were thought to arise after transient yeast overgrowth in the gut at the time of an acute illness or immediately after surgery. The study adds further data to documented examples of 'false positive' candida antibodies and indicates the need for care in the diagnostic interpretation of candida precipitin test results among groups of patients at risk of yeast overgrowth during their hospital stay.
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