The diagnosis of central nervous system (CNS) histoplasmosis is often difficult. Although cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (1,3)-β-d-glucan (BDG) is available as a biological marker for the diagnosis of fungal meningitis, there are limited data on its use for the diagnosis of Histoplasma meningitis. We evaluated CSF BDG detection, using the Fungitell assay, in patients with CNS histoplasmosis and controls. A total of 47 cases and 153 controls were identified. The control group included 13 patients with a CNS fungal infection other than histoplasmosis. Forty-nine percent of patients with CNS histoplasmosis and 43.8% of controls were immunocompromised. The median CSF BDG level was 85 pg/ml for cases, compared to < 31 pg/ml for all controls (P < 0.05) and 82 pg/ml for controls with other causes of fungal meningitis (P = 0.27). The sensitivity for detection of BDG in CSF was 53.2%, whereas the specificity was 86.9% versus all controls and 46% versus other CNS fungal infections. CSF BDG levels of ≥ 80 pg/ml are neither sensitive nor specific to support a diagnosis of Histoplasma meningitis.

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Published in Journal of Clinical Microbiology, v. 56, issue 10, e00663-18, p. 1-6.

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