Efficacy of different diagnosis methods in systemic mycoses associated with AIDS

One hundred and seventeen patients suffering systemic mycosis and AIDS were studied during 5 years in the Muñiz Hospital of Buenos Aires City. Seventy four of them presented cryptococcosis, 39 histoplasmosis and 4 both mycoses. The following specimens were studied for the diagnosis: skin and mucous membrane scrapings, bone marrow aspirations, bronchial secretions, biopsies of different organs, cerebral spinal fluid and blood cultures. Sera were also collected for serologic tests. A total of 203 samples from patients with histoplasmosis were studied, 46.3% of them showed H. capsulatum in microscopic examinations or in cultures, skin scraping was the most sensitive diagnostic method (94.7% of positive results), followed by biopsies (80%) and bone marrow cultures (42.1%). Specific antibodies were detected in 45.4% of the patients with histoplasmosis, using 2 different antigens and 3 types of serologic reactions (complement fixation test, immunodiffusion and counterimmunoelectrophoresis). A total of 413 samples from patients with cryptococcosis were examined, 69% of them confirmed the diagnosis. The mycologic study of CSF was the most sensitive method of study, since it registered positive results in 89.5%, followed by blood cultures (61.2%), skin scrapings (42.9%), and urine cultures (41.7%). Polisaccharyde antigens from C. neoformans in organic fluids were detected in almost all the cases. The aim of this study is to compare all the suitable diagnostic methods which can be used in systemic mycosis associated with AIDS in order to find the most rapid way of diagnosis.

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