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Keywords:

  • agglutination assay;
  • Blastomyces dermatitidis;
  • blastomycosis

ABSTRACT

Blastomycosis, caused by the thermally dimorphic fungus Blastomyces dermatitides, which is endemic to eastern regions of the USA, is commonly misdiagnosed as a viral or bacterial infection and therefore treated improperly. Over the years, many immunodiagnostic assays to aid in the diagnosis of blastomycosis have been developed; however, a reliable assay for use in local clinics still remains elusive. Procedures for a slide agglutination assay for detection of antibody in serum from rabbits immunized with B. dermatitidis were evaluated with antigenic preparations from B. dermatitidis adsorbed to polystyrene microparticles. Yeast-phase lysates from five isolates of B. dermatitides: namely ER-593 (Eagle River, WI, USA), ER-598 (Eagle River, WI, USA), 48938 (India), B5896 (Mt. Iron, MN, USA), and T-58 (TN, USA) were evaluated for their sensitivity and specificity. Sensitivities of the lysates ranged from 29% to 83% whereas specificities ranged from 13% to 100%. Lysate ER-593 provided the most promising results with a sensitivity of 82% and specificity of 100%. This study provides suggests that a simple rapid slide agglutination assay for detecting blastomycosis may be used for screening patients with suspected B. dermatitidis infection.