Since Paracoccidioides brasiliensis and Histoplasma capsulatum are known to be present in similar environments, there have been many epidemiologic investigations regarding the prevalences of these two organisms. However, cross-reactivity can occur in paracoccidioidin and histoplasmin skin tests, and this usually results in the overestimation of the prevalence of P. brasiliensis. The prevalence of infection with P. brasiliensis was evaluated in a cross-sectional study of 298 asymptomatic school children in the Brazilian Amazon region (Mato Grosso State). In this investigation, the reactivity of children to two different P. brasiliensis antigen preparations, paracoccidioidin and a purified 43-kD glycoprotein (gp43), was compared with or without the co-administration of histoplasmin. In the group of individuals receiving paracoccidioidin who had a positive histoplasmin skin test result, the prevalence of exposure to P. brasiliensis was 44% (16 of 36). This reactivity to P. brasiliensis was significantly higher than that observed in other groups, which ranged from 4% to 6% (P < 5 x 10(-4) for each). Overall prevalence was 4.6% (95% confidence interval = 2.5-7.7%). These data suggest that gp43 provides a better estimate of exposure to P. brasiliensis when the co-administration of histoplasmin is desired.
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