Definition An aspergillus antigen skin test detects antibodies against a common fungus, or mould, 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.
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:
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.
After 72 hours, the person should visit his or her doctor to have the test site evaluated.
What is involved in preparation for the test? Because test preparations may vary, a person should request specific instructions from the doctor.
What do the test results mean? If no antibodies against Aspergillus are present, there will be no reaction at the test site. This means the test was negative, or normal.
A positive reaction at the test site indicates antibodies to Aspergillus are present. With a positive reaction there may be a small raised, hard spot on the skin where the skin test was given. This usually indicates that a person has been exposed to the fungus and may develop aspergillosis.
Author: David T. Moran, MD Reviewer: eknowhow Medical Review Panel Editor: Dr John Hearne
Last Updated: 18/09/2004 Contributors Potential conflict of interest information for reviewers available on request
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