Coccidioides antibody test
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects in a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.
The complement fixation test looks at the clear liquid portion of the blood, called serum, to see if the body has produced antibodies to a specific antigen -- in this case Coccidioides immitis. If the antibodies are present, they stick, or "fix" themselves to the antigen. That is why the test is called "fixation."
There is no special preparation for the test.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
This test is used to detect infection with the fungus that causes coccidioidomycosis. This condition can cause lung or widespread (disseminated) infection.
Galgiani JN. Coccidioidomycosis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 354.
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