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Cryptococcosis

 
 


Cryptococcosis is caused by the type of yeast called C. neoformans. It is found in the soil every where, usually in association with bird droppings.

This Infection affects human beings through inhalation. Lung infection goes unnoticed most of the time. From lung, fungi spread to other parts of the body. The patients present with disseminated infection, especially meningo-encephalitis, face mortality of about 12%.

Normally fungi does not affect normal persons. Immune compromised patients i.e. HIV, Blood cancer or those taking cancer chemotherapy or chronic corticosteroid therapy, are susceptible to Cryptococcosis. The most serious form of this infection is cryptococcal meningitis.

Symptoms of Cryptococcosis - In the beginning when the infection is localized in the lungs, it could be mistaken as simple viral infection or allergy. The patient presents with cough, breathlessness or wheezing.

Otherwise symptoms are according to the organ involved.

In case of cryptococcal meningitis, the patient has nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion neck stiffness etc.

Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) shows increased pressure, increased WBC count, increased protein, and decreased glucose. To see encapsulated organisms, an India ink staining must be done.

Treatment -
For high risk patients - FUNGISOME the Liposomal Amphotericin B (1-3mg) is the drug of choice. In case of Cryptococcal Meningitis where hydrocephalus has developed, Ventricular shunting may be needed. Other supportive and symptomatic treatment is also needed. It can lead to permanent neurological damage.
 

 
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