Zygomycosis laboratory findings

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

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Diagnosis for phycomycosis is through a biopsy or culture, although an ELISA test has been developed for Pythium insidiosum in animals.[1] As swabs of tissue or discharge are generally unreliable, the diagnosis of zygomycosis tends to be established by a biopsy specimen of the involved tissue. Diagnosis for basidiobolomycosis is by laboratory culture of the organism, usually from pieces of tissue taken from the patient. It grows easily on most media, but risks being discarded as irrelevant or being reported as a contaminant because laboratory staff are unfamiliar with it. Diagnosis is often difficult because basidiobolomycosis is a rare disease and therefore often not recognized. The lesions often look like tumors rather than infection, so often no sample is sent for microbiology, however, the histopathology is characteristic: the Splendore-Hoeppli phenomenon describes the presence of fungal hyphae (which may exist only as ghosts on the slide) surrounded by eosinophilic material.

In patients with deep involvement with Basidiobolomycosis, the eosinophil count may be raised, falsely suggesting a parasitic infection.


  1. Hensel P, Greene C, Medleau L, Latimer K, Mendoza L (2003). "Immunotherapy for treatment of multicentric cutaneous pythiosis in a dog". J Am Vet Med Assoc. 223 (2): 215–8, 197. PMID 12875449.