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Alternative Names Return to topHistoplasma antibody test
Definition Return to top
Histoplasma complement fixation is a blood test that checks for signs of infection due to a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum (H. capsulatum). People who breath in particles from this fungus may get an infection called histoplasmosis.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
You will need to give a blood sample.
The complement fixation test checks the blood for antibodies to H. capsulatum. Antibodies defend the body against bacteria, viruses, fungus, or other foreign body (antigen). Certain cells tell the body to produce antibodies during an active infection.
The test specifically looks for the antibodies in the clear liquid portion of the blood (serum). This general term for this method is called serology.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
There is no special preparation for the test.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
You may feel a prick or stinging sensation when the needle is inserted to draw your blood. Some people may have moderate pain. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
Histoplasma complement fixation is one of the most commonly used methods to test for a fungal infection caused by H. capsulatum.
Normal Results Return to top
The presence of no antibodies is normal.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Abnormal results may indicate an active histoplasmosis infection.
People who have been exposed to H. capsulatum in the past may also have antibodies to it, often at low levels. However, they may not have shown signs of illness.
Note: In the initial stage of an illness, few antibodies may be detected. Antibody production increases during the course of an infection. For this reason, such tests are 2 - 4 weeks after the first test is done.
Risks Return to top
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
References Return to topDeepe GS. Histoplasma capsulatum. In: Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 5th ed. GL Mandell, JE Bennett, R Dolin, eds. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone; 2000:2718-2731. Update Date: 6/8/2007 Updated by: Mark Levin, M.D., Division of Infectious Disease, MacNeal Hospital, Berwyn, IL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.