The diagnostic laboratory tests for histoplasmosis: analysis of experience in a large urban outbreak

Ann Intern Med. 1982 Nov;97(5):680-5. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-97-5-680.


Of 495 patients reported in a large urban histoplasmosis outbreak, we studied 276 whose serologic tests were done in a single laboratory. Serologic test results were positive in 96% of these patients (compared with less than 5% of controls from an endemic area), cultures were positive in 22%, and special stains in 19%. The immunodiffusion test results were negative in 13% of patients who had positive findings by complement fixation, and 1% had positive results only by immunodiffusion. The complement fixation test was almost twice as sensitive as the immunodiffusion test in patients with subclinical infection. The serologic response differed significantly among the clinical syndromes with higher titers in cavitary and lower titers in disseminated disease. Factors associated with titers of 1:64 or greater to both antigens were black race and immunocompetence. High mycelial titers were also associated with more intense exposure, and high yeast titers were associated with age less than 36 years. No prognostic significance could be proved for fourfold titer rises or falls or persistence of precipitins.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Complement Fixation Tests
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Granuloma / microbiology
  • Histoplasmosis / diagnosis*
  • Histoplasmosis / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Immunodiffusion
  • Indiana
  • Middle Aged
  • Urban Population