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Many fungi in the environment cause disease in severely compromised human hosts. Accordingly, the range of potential pathogenic fungi has increased as the number of immunosuppressed individuals (eg, persons with AIDS, patients receiving chemotherapy, or transplant rejection therapy) has increased.
Few fungal diseases can be diagnosed clinically; many are diagnosed by isolating and identifying the infecting fungus in the clinical laboratory.
Diagnosing fungal infections from cerebrospinal fluid (separate tests are available for other specimen sites)
Positive cultures of yeast and filamentous fungi are reported with the organism identification.
The clinician must determine whether or not the presence of an organism is significant. A final negative report is issued after 24 days of incubation.
For optimal recovery of organisms, sufficient specimen should be transported within 24 hours of collection.
Fungi can be pathogens, colonizers, or contaminants. Correlation of the patient clinical condition with culture results is necessary for optimal patient care.
If positive, fungus will be identified.
Shea YR: General approaches for detection and identification of fungi. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 10th edition. Edited by J Versalovic, KC Carroll, et al: Washington DC, ASM Press, 2011, pp 1776-1792