Revisiting oral thrush in South-East Asian patients: A review of published studies (2000–2020)


BACKGROUND: Oral thrush, a clinical condition due to an overgrowth of Candida yeasts in the oral cavity, is prominent in patients with immunosuppression. As recent updates on oral thrush in South-East Asian (SEA) countries are lacking, this review aimed to address the epidemiology, clinical features and distribution of Candida species, based on published studies in SEA countries over the last two decades. METHODS: Published studies on oral candidiasis (2000-2020) were retrieved from PubMed, Scopus, ISI Web of Science and Google Scholar databases to provide information on the incidence and factors affecting oral thrush cases in SEA countries. RESULTS: A total of 22 cross-sectional studies involving 3697 subjects from five SEA countries were reviewed in this study. The most frequently reported population were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. The overall incidence rates amongst HIV-infected patients ranged from 20.7% to 97.0%, while incidence rates ranging from 0% to 72.7% were recorded for non-HIV-infected populations. Pseudomembranous candidiasis and erythematous candidiasis were the most common clinical presentations of oral thrush lesions. CandidaAÿalbicans was the most common species identified in SEA studies. As oral thrush assessments were made merely based on clinical diagnosis, culture results were not available for most studies. CONCLUSION: This review highlights that most studies reporting on oral candidiasis in SEA countries were based on HIV-positive patients. Data are still lacking on oral candidiasis amongst non-HIV immunocompromised and immunocompetent patients. Increasing awareness on the diagnosis, treatment and consequences of this infection, and improved laboratory methods are essential for the management of oral candidiasis in this region.


Karajacob AS, Al-Maleki AR, Tay ST




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
  • Population(s)
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-infections
    • Other


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