State of the art diagnostic of mold diseases: a practical guide for clinicians
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- Beirão, F. & Araujo, R. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis (2013) 32: 3. doi:10.1007/s10096-012-1722-7
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The epidemiology of fungal diseases changed, and molds have been increasingly associated with high mortality in severe immunocompromised patients. Invasive mold diseases may originate from the airborne conidia through inhalation or inoculation in skin fissures associated with indwelling catheters, wounds, burns, or onychomycosis. The diagnosis and treatment of fungal diseases is problematic and raises considerable challenges. Diagnosis of invasive mold diseases includes several methodologies, of which the most commonly used are the cultural methods, antigen testing, nucleic acid detection, and radiological imaging. Galactomannan and (1 → 3)-β-d-glucan detection significantly improved mold diagnosis in the last decade. Several molecular strategies have been proposed over the years but no consensus was achieved for standardized protocols or cut-off values. Recently, the first commercially available molecular assay for detection of Aspergillus was tested and the results were highly reproducible. In addition, blood cultures may also be helpful for invasive aspergillosis by following a novel procedure for the recovery of Aspergillus spp. from blood cultures. The association of distinct diagnostic methods, particularly molecular tests, galactomannan, and/or (1 → 3)-β-d-glucan detection, may provide earlier and more sensitive diagnosis of mold diseases and be indicative for early antifungal treatment. Accurate routine use of diagnostic tests can be cost-effective for laboratories and be of great value to patients.