Microbiological diagnostics of fungal infections

Corrado Girmenia

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7175/rhc.v4i1S.862


Laboratory tests for the detection of fungal infections are easy to perform. The main obstacle to a correct diagnosis is the correlation between the laboratory findings and the clinical diagnosis. Among pediatric patients, the most common fungal pathogen is Candida. The detection of fungal colonization may be performed through the use of chromogenic culture media, which allows also the identification of Candida subspecies, from which pathogenicity depends. In neonatology, this
test often drives the decision to begin a empiric therapy; in this regard, a close cooperation between microbiologists and clinicians is highly recommended. Blood culture, if positive, is a strong confirmation of fungal infection; however, its low sensitivity results in a high percentage of false negatives, thus decreasing its reliability. Molecular diagnostics is still under evaluation, whereas the detection of some fungal antigens, such as β-D-glucan, galactomannan, mannoprotein, and cryptococcal antigen in the serum is used for adults, but still under evaluations for pediatric patients.


Fungal infections; Diagnosis; Laboratory tests; Colonization; Blood culture; Molecular diagnostics; Fungal antigens

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