A fungal culture test helps diagnose fungal infections , a health problem caused by exposure to fungi (more than one fungus). A fungus is a type of germ that lives in air, soil and plants, and even on our own bodies. There are more than a million different kinds of fungi. Most are harmless, but a few types of fungi can cause infections. There are two main types of fungal infections: superficial (affecting parts of the outer body) and systemic (affecting systems inside the body).
Superficial fungal infections are very common. They can affect the skin, genital area, and nails. Superficial infections include athlete's foot , vaginal yeast infections , and ringworm , which is not a worm but a fungus that can cause a circular rash on the skin. While not serious, superficial fungal infections can cause itchy, scaly rashes and other uncomfortable conditions.
Systemic fungal infections can affect your lungs, blood, and other systems in your body. These infections can be quite serious. Many of the more harmful fungi affect people with weakened immune systems. Others, such as one called sporothrix schenckii, usually affect people who work with soil and plants, though the fungi can infect people through an animal bite or scratch, often from a cat. A sporothrix infection may cause skin ulcers, lung disease, or joint problems.
Both superficial and systemic fungal infections can be diagnosed with a fungal culture test.