What is Cryptococcosis?

Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection caused by the fungi Cryptococcus neoformans. Cryptococcosis is caused by breathing in microscopic fungus. Most people do not get sick from inhalation of the fungus. The infection typically affects the lungs but can sometimes harm the central nervous system, brain, and/or other parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of Cryptococcosis?

In the lungs:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fever

In the brain:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion

Who is at risk for Cryptococcosis?

Cryptococcosis typically only affects those with weakened immune symptoms. At-risk patients include:

  • People with advanced HIV/AIDS
  • People who have had an organ transplant
  • Those taking medications that weaken the immune system

Is Cryptococcosis contagious?

No, cryptococcosis cannot be spread between humans.

How can I prevent Cryptococcosis?

It is difficult to prevent breathing in the fungus that causes cryptococcosis, because it is commonly in the air.   Typically, healthy persons that breathe in the fungus will not get an infection.

How is Cryptococcosis diagnosed?

  • Medical history
  • Symptoms
  • Physical examination
  • Tissue sample
  • Body fluid sample
  • X-ray
  • CT scan of brain, lungs, etc.

How is Cryptococcosis treated?

Patients with Cryptococcosis typically are prescribed an antifungal treatment for at least six months. The antifungal will depend on the body part affected and the person.

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