WHAT IS CRYPTOCOCCAL ANTIGEN TITER (CEREBROSPINAL FLUID) (CSF) TEST?
Cryptococcus is a yeast member of the Fungi Imperfecti group found in the soil and in contaminated bird droppings. It is believed to be transmitted to humans by inhalation from the environment. Normal host defence mechanisms prevent Cryptococcus from causing disease. Clients with Hodgkin’s disease, sarcoidosis, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or diabetes and those on corticosteroid therapy or undergoing bone marrow transplantation are more susceptible to cryptococcal infection. Cryptococcus neoformans is the organism that usually causes pathologic conditions in humans, with chronic meningitis being the most common manifestation. Antigen detection enables earlier diagnosis than culture. This test uses latex agglutination to detect the presence of the cryptococcal antigen in a sample of cerebrospinal fluid. The results are reported in titers, with the level of titer corresponding to the extent of infection. Serial titers may be used to monitor response to therapy.