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Cryptococcus is an infection with a yeast-like fungus, resulting in tumors in the lungs and sometimes spreading to the brain. It occurs chiefly in the United States. Cryptococcus neoformans is the fungus that causes this disease. It is usually found in soil. It may get into the lungs when a person breathes it. The infection may go away on its own, remain in the lungs only, or spread throughout the body. This infection is common with people who have a weak immune system and to those:
• Are infected with HIV
• Take high doses of corticosteroid medications
• Are on chemotherapy drugs for cancer
• Have Hodgkin's disease
HOW IS CRYPTOCOCCOSIS DIAGNOSED?
The diagnostic tests for Cryptococcosis include:
• Blood culture
• CT scan of the head
• Sputum culture and stain
• Lung biopsy
• Spinal tap to obtain a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
• Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture and other tests to check for signs of infection
• Chest x-ray
• Cryptococcal antigen test
HOW IS CRYPTOCOCCOSIS TREATED?
Treatment of meningoencephalitis and other severe infections is usually initiated with an amphotericin B formulation, with or without flucytosine. Fluconazole is used for maintenance therapy in HIV-infected patients with cryptococcal meningoencephalitis, and may be used for patients with milder forms of infection not involving the central nervous system.
DID YOU KNOW?
Immunosupression can also help in treating this disease.