Poor diagnosis of fungal infections fuels antibiotic resistance

Improper diagnosis of fungal infections around the world results in the over-prescription of antibiotics, thereby exacerbating the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance, according to a new research paper published in the CDC's journal Emerging Infectious Disease.

While rapid diagnostic tests for fungal infections are available and inexpensive, they are not being used by enough clinicians, the paper's authors argue. The paper cites four common clinical scenarios, which can be worsened by the absence of routine diagnostic testing for fungal infections.

• The misdiagnosis of tuberculosis in patients infected with the fungus Aspergillus, which can be treated with antifungal medications and not antibiotics.

• Inaccurate diagnosis of fungal sepsis in hospitals and intensive care units among patients with invasive candidiasis, which are fungal infections caused by yeasts that can be treated without antibiotics.

• Misdiagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in patients with fungal asthma.

• Treatment and detection issues among HIV-positive patients with fungal pneumonia.

"Fungal disease diagnostics are critical in the AMR fight and will improve survival from fungal disease across the world," said Dr. David Denning, Global Action Fund for Fungal Infections president and a professor of infectious diseases in global health at the University of Manchester in the U.K. "The close link between fungal diagnostics and antibacterial prescribing needs a great deal more attention."

More articles on infection control: 
Anti-flu compounds can also impede Zika infection 
Study: 'Nightmare bacteria' may be spreading under the radar in U.S. hospitals 
How combining traditional hand hygiene initiatives with high-tech solutions can improve compliance

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