Emerging infectious diseases 2017 02 1523(2) 177-183 doi 10.3201/eid2302.152042
Antimicrobial resistance, a major public health concern, largely arises from excess use of antibiotic and antifungal drugs. Lack of routine diagnostic testing for fungal diseases exacerbates the problem of antimicrobial drug empiricism, both antibiotic and antifungal. In support of this contention, we cite 4 common clinical situations that illustrate this problem: 1) inaccurate diagnosis of fungal sepsis in hospitals and intensive care units, resulting in inappropriate use of broad-spectrum antibacterial drugs in patients with invasive candidiasis; 2) failure to diagnose chronic pulmonary aspergillosis in patients with smear-negative pulmonary tuberculosis; 3) misdiagnosis of fungal asthma, resulting in unnecessary treatment with antibacterial drugs instead of antifungal drugs and missed diagnoses of life-threatening invasive aspergillosis in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and 4) overtreatment and undertreatment of Pneumocystis pneumonia in HIV-positive patients. All communities should have access to nonculture fungal diagnostics, which can substantially benefit clinical outcome, antimicrobial stewardship, and control of antimicrobial resistance.