August 14 19:47 2019 Print This Article

Cryptococcosis is a rare fungal infection caused by inhaling the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Cryptococcus is present around the world, but infection was relatively rare until the AIDS epidemic began. Cryptococcosis is listed as a ” rare disease ” by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Primary pulmonary infections have no diagnostic symptoms and are usually subclinical. Cryptococcus neoformans var neoformans is the most common variety and mainly affects immunosuppressed patients such as those with HIV and AIDS. It affects numerous mammalian species, including dogs, cats, and humans. Cryptococcal infection has increased as our immunocompromised pool of patients enlarges. Treatment dramatically reduces mortality but not necessarily neurologic deficits, such as paralysis and hydrocephalus.

With the spread of AIDS, cryptococcosis is increasing and now represents a common cause of infection and death in these patients. The incidence is increasing, especially in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The most serious infections usually occur in patients with defective cell-mediated immunity. Cryptococcus neoformans, the fungus that causes this disease, is ordinarily found in soil. Cryptococcus neoformans differs from other dimorphic fungi in that it is always found in the yeast phase in laboratory cultures and infected tissues. To diagnose the infection a doctor takes and analyzes samples of tissue and body fluids. Although C. neoformans is regarded as the principle pathogenic species, C. albidus and C. laurentii have on occasion also been implicated in human infection.

Causes of Cryptococcosis

Here are the list of the possible causes of Cryptococcosis:

  • Cryptococcus neoformans, the fungus that causes this disease, is ordinarily found in soil.
  • HIV can be spread during pregnancy from mother to fetus.
  • Most cases occur in people whose resistance to infection is lowered (such as by HIV infection, high doses of corticosteroid medications, cancer chemotherapy, or Hodgkin’s disease ).
  • Blood or blood products can transmit the virus, most often through the sharing of contaminated syringes and needles.
  • The most common variety to cause disease in patients who are immunocompetent is C neoformans var gattii.

Symptoms of Cryptococcosis

Some sign and symptoms related to Cryptococcosis are as follows:

  • Abdominal fullness prematurely after meals.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Bone pain or tenderness of the breastbone (sternum).
  • Nausea.
  • Nerve pain or pain along the path of a specific nerve or nerve root.
  • Swollen glands.
  • Unintentional weight loss.
  • Meningitis.
  • Encephalitis.
  • Lungs — cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing.
  • Other organs — depends on the organ.

Treatment of Cryptococcosis

Here is the list of the methods for treating Cryptococcosis:

  • Anti-HIV (also called antiretroviral) medications are used to control the reproduction of the virus and to slow the progression of HIV-related disease.
  • Amphotericin B.
  • Flucytosine.
  • Patients with AIDS will also need long-term therapy, usually with oral fluconazole.
  • Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) is the recommended treatment for HIV infection.
  • Amphotericin B is a powerful fungistatic drug with potentially toxic side effects.
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