What are cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) characteristics in fungal meningitis?

Updated: Jul 16, 2019
  • Author: Rodrigo Hasbun, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The diagnosis of cryptococcal meningitis relies on the identification of the pathogen in the CSF. The CSF is characterized by a lymphocytic pleocytosis (10-200/µL), a reduced glucose level, and an elevated protein level. The CSF picture of other fungal meningitides is similar to that of cryptococcal meningitis, usually with lymphocytic pleocytosis. Eosinophilic pleocytosis has rarely been associated with C immitis meningitis.

The definitive diagnosis usually relies on the demonstration of the specific fungal agent (eg, H capsulatum, C immitis, B dermatitidis, or Candida species) from clinical specimens, including the CSF. This could be in the form of fungal culture isolation (eg, C albicans growth from CSF).


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