The United Kingdom National External Quality Assessment Scheme (NEQUAS) for mycology

C.K.Campbell, S.F. Perry and D.W. Warnock


The UK NEQAS for mycology provides an opportunity for medical microbiology laboratories to monitor the effectiveness of their mycological methods and expertise. Cultures of known but undisclosed identity are distributed to 248 laboratories in the UK and 55 in other European countries. Participants are allocated numerical scores based on correctness of identification. Each laboratory receives an analysis of the combined scores from all participants as well as a confidential record of its own achievement. Between 1992 and 1994, 36 strains were distributed (7 dermatophytes, 10 yeasts, 8 aspergilli, 10 other moulds and 1 aerobic actinomycete). 90% of participants correctly identified Candida glabrata and Cryptococcus neoformans, but C. krusei and C. tropicalis were identified by only 67 and 77% of laboratories. Much confusion was caused by the Trichosporon group, with only 40% correctly reporting Blastoschizomyces capitatus (T. capitatum). The results for dermatophytes showed a similar wide range of expertise depending on species. 92% of laboratories correctly identified the relatively uncommon but distinctive Microsporum gypseum, whilst figures for the more common Trichophyton interdigitale, T. rubrum and Microsporum canis were 87, 84 and 63 % respectively. T. tonsurans was correctly identified by 59 % of laboratories and T. erinacei by 68 % . Aspergillus fumigates and A. niger were correctly identified by 93 and 98 % of participants, but A. nidulans was recognised by only 42 % . In general the green aspergilli were likely to be misidentified as A. fumigates. Among other moulds, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis, Scytalidium dimidiatum and Scedosporium apiospermum were correctly identified in 82, 80 and 67 % of cases.

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Full conference title: 

The 2nd Meeting of the European Confederation of Medical Mycology
    • ECMM 2nd (1995)