Date of Conferral





Public Health


Aimee E. Ferraro


Increased systemic infections and growing resistance of Candida species in immunosuppressed people have prompted research for additional treatment options. The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the potential of lemongrass, oregano, and thyme essential oils tested individually, combined, and combined with the antifungal agents fluconazole and caspofungin to kill Candida albicans isolates in a controlled laboratory setting. This study was grounded on the theoretical concepts of the epidemiologic triangle model. The experimental data collected were used to investigate risk factors related to age, gender, race, and comorbidities. Kill rates of lemongrass, oregano, and thyme essential oils individually and combined, kill rates of fluconazole, caspofungin, and the kill rates when the antifungals were each combined with the 3 essential oils were compared using 117 isolates recovered from bloodstream infections between January 2009 through August 1, 2017. The data collected were analyzed using 2-way repeated ANOVAS. According to study results, there were statistically significant increases in kill rates when the isolates were exposed to any of the combinations of essential oils tested. Using binomial and multinomial regression to analyze age, gender, race, and comorbidities resulted in the age group 25-34, kidney failure, and solid organ tumor cancer all being statistically significantly associated with an increased risk for Candida albicans bloodstream infections, and multiple organ failure negatively associated with the risk. Health care practitioners can use the results of this study to reduce the number of patients becoming infected with life-threatening yeast infections, which could reduce the costs associated with infections.