Rhodotorula mucilaginosa

Rhodotorula mucilaginosa (previously: Rhodotorula rubra) is a yeast from the division of Basidiomycota.

Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, usually as a result of invasive processes, can cause rare but severe systemic diseases, such as:

  • Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart’s inner lining)

  • Meningitis (inflammation of the meninges)

  • Peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum)

  • Dermatitis

Rhodotorula mucilaginosa is widespread worldwide and is found in soil, water, on trees and flowers, in food, and air. The pathogen is able to form biofilms. This favors the colonization of catheters, prostheses and bronchoscopes.

Relevance of pathogen in transmission in endoscopy

  • Gastroenterology: Not relevant

  • Pulmonology: High

  • Ear, nose, and throat: Not relevant

  • Urology: Not relevant

Relevance for endoscope surveillance

  • High concern organism

Transmission route

The exact transmission routes of Rhodotorula mucilaginosa are not yet known.

As a biofilm former, Rhodotorula mucilaginosa can also be spread and transmitted in healthcare facilities through water. The water used for final rinsing of endoscopes must therefore be microbiologically controlled.

Resistance to antifungals

Rhodotorula mucilaginosa is resistant to echinocandins.

Sources and further readings

  1. Gries O, Ly T: Infektologie – Kompendium humanpathogener Infektionskrankheiten und Erreger, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2019.

  2. Hagan ME et al. A pseudoepidemic of Rhodotorula rubra: a marker for microbial contamination of the bronchoscope. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1995 Dec;16(12):727–8.

  3. Ioannou P et al. Rhodotorula species infections in humans: A systematic review. Mycoses. 2019 Feb;62(2):90–100. doi: 10.1111/myc.12856.

  4. Nunes JM et al. Molecular identification, antifungal susceptibility profile, and biofilm formation of clinical and environmental Rhodotorula species isolates. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Jan;57(1):382–9.

  5. Tuon FF / Costa SF Rhodotorula infection. A systematic review of 128 cases from literature. Rev Iberoam Micol. 2008 Sep 30;25(3):135–40.