Can fungal infection in the blood be used to diagnose fungal meningitis?

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

A test used to detect fungal infection in the blood was successfully used in the diagnosis of fungal meningitis in an outbreak caused by contaminated steroids. [29] This outbreak involved 13,534 US patients who underwent epidural steroid injection and were exposed to methylprednisolone acetate from lots contaminated with environmental fungi; hundreds of these individuals developed serious CNS complications. The test (Fungitell, Beacon Diagnostics Laboratories), which measures levels of b-D-glucan (a glycoprotein found in the fungal cell wall), was used in CSF samples from patients exposed to the contaminated steroids who had negative fungal culture and polymerase chain reaction results. All patients with fungal meningitis had detectable b-D-glucan in their CSF. [29]


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