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Aspergillus Antigen Skin Test

Alternate Names

  • aspergillus antigen skin test

Definition

An aspergillus antigen skin test detects antibodies against a common fungus, or mold, called Aspergillus. The aspergillosis infection spreads in the bloodstream. It may cause an infection in the ear, cornea of the eye, heart valves, sinuses, lungs or brain. People who have old lung disease, asthma, or weakened immune systems are more vulnerable to aspergillosis,

Who is a candidate for the test?

This test is normally performed to detect and diagnose a particular fungal infection. This test may be done on a person who has symptoms similar to symptoms of pneumonia or tuberculosis with a history of:
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • coughing up thick or blood tinged mucous
It may also be done on a person with clouded vision, eye pain, and reddened eyes.

How is the test performed?

The site tested is usually an area of skin on the forearm. After it is cleansed with antiseptic, a small amount of antigen is injected. An antigen is a substance foreign to the body. When the body detects an antigen, the immune system makes antibodies to try to fight it off.
The test can be read 10 to 20 minutes later.

What is involved in preparation for the test?

Because test preparations may vary, a person should request specific instructions from the healthcare professional.

What do the test results mean?

If no antibodies to Aspergillus are present, there will be no reaction at the test site. This means the test was negative, that is, normal. A positive reaction, consisting of a raised, inflamed area at the test site within 10 to 20 minutes, indicates that exposure to Aspergillus has occurred. This means that a person has, or is at risk for developing, aspergillosis.

Sources

Tabers Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, F.A.Davis, 1993

Illustrated Guide to Diagnostic Tests, Springhouse, 1998

Mosby's Manual of Diagnostic and laboratory Tests, Kathleen Pagana and Timothy Pagana, 1998

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