Detection of hyphomycetes in the upper respiratory tract of patients with cystic fibrosis

R Horré, G Marklein, R Siekmeier, S-M Reiffert
Mycoses 2011, 54 (6): 514-22
The respiratory tract of cystic fibrosis patients is colonised by bacteria and fungi. Although colonisation by slow growing fungi such as Pseudallescheria, Scedosporium and Exophiala species has been studied previously, the colonisation rate differs from study to study. Infections caused by these fungi have been recognised, especially after lung transplants. Monitoring of respiratory tract colonisation in cystic fibrosis patients includes the use of several semi-selective culture media to detect bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Burkholderia cepacia as well as Candida albicans. It is relevant to study whether conventional methods are sufficient for the detection of slow growing hyphomycetes or if additional semi-selective culture media should be used. In total, 589 respiratory specimens from cystic fibrosis patients were examined for the presence of slow growing hyphomycetes. For 439 samples from 81 patients, in addition to conventional methods, erythritol-chloramphenicol agar was used for the selective isolation of Exophiala dermatitidis and paraffin-covered liquid Sabouraud media for the detection of phaeohyphomycetes. For 150 subsequent samples from 42 patients, SceSel+ agar was used for selective isolation of Pseudallescheria and Scedosporium species,and brain-heart infusion bouillon containing a wooden stick for hyphomycete detection. Selective isolation techniques were superior in detecting non-Aspergillus hyphomycetes compared with conventional methods. Although liquid media detected fewer strains of Exophiala, Pseudallescheria and Scedosporium species, additional hyphomycete species not detected by other methods were isolated. Current conventional methods are insufficient to detect non-Aspergillus hyphomycetes, especially Exophiala, Pseudallescheria and Scedosporium species, in sputum samples of cystic fibrosis patients.

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