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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Jul;296(1):1-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01575.x. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

An update on the molecular diagnosis of invasive fungal disease.

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NPHS Microbiology Cardiff, UHW, Heath Park, Cardiff, UK.


Despite improvements in medical technology, the definitive diagnosis of invasive fungal disease (IFD) is limited. The prevalence of disease is relatively low but many cases are undiagnosed. With the diagnosis of proven IFD dependent on histopathology or culture from a sterile site, clinicians have become more reliant on noninvasive nonculture diagnostic techniques. PCR technology has the capacity to overcome classical limitations but has its own drawbacks, resulting from an incomplete knowledge of the various disease processes and subsequent shortage of optimal specimens, leading to a lack of methodological standardization. This review will consider the general principles and limitations of fungal PCR before discussing genus-specific PCR applications. It is by no means a systematic review of the literature but is intended, where possible, to provide the reader with access to assays with proficient clinical performance.

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