Introduction: Fungal infections are increasingly encountered in clinical practice due to more favorable environmental conditions and increasing prevalence of immunocompromised individuals. The diagnostic approach for many fungal pathogens continues to evolve. Herein, we outline available diagnostic tests for the most common fungal infections with a focus on recent advances and future directions. Areas covered: We discuss the diagnostic testing methods for angioinvasive molds (Aspergillus spp. and Mucor spp.), invasive yeast (Candida spp. and Cryptococcus ssp.), Pneumocystis, and endemic fungi (Blastomyces sp., Coccidioides ssp., and Histoplasma sp.). The PubMed-NCBI database was searched within the past 5 years to identify the most recent available literature with dates extended in cases where literature was sparse. Diagnostic guidelines were utilized when available with references reviewed. Expert opinion: Historically, culture and/or direct visualization of fungal organisms were required for diagnosis of infection. Significant limitations included ability to collect specimens and delayed diagnosis associated with waiting for culture results. Antigen and antibody testing have made great strides in allowing quicker diagnosis of fungal infections but can be limited by low sensitivity/specificity, cross-reactivity with other fungi, and test availability. Molecular methods have a rich history in some fungal diseases, while others continue to be developed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health