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Symptoms of C. gattii Infection

C. gattii usually infects the lungs or the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), but it can also affect other parts of the body. The symptoms of the infection depend on the parts of the body that are affected.1-3

In the lungs

Woman coughing

Cough is a common symptom of Cryptococcus infection in the lungs.

A C. gattii infection in the lungs can cause a pneumonia-like illness. The symptoms are often similar to those of many other illnesses, and can include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Fever

In the brain (cryptococcal meningitis)

Cryptococcal meningitis is an infection caused by the fungus Cryptococcus after it spreads from the lungs to the brain. The symptoms of cryptococcal meningitis include:

 

Man holding head.  Man holding neck.

Headache, fever, and neck pain are common symptoms of cryptococcal meningitis.

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Confusion or changes in behavior

C. gattii infection can also cause cryptococcomas (fungal growths) to develop in the lungs, skin, brain or other organs, causing symptoms in other parts of the body.

If you have symptoms that you think may be due to a C. gattii infection, please contact your healthcare provider.

How soon do the symptoms of C. gattii infection appear?

The incubation period of C.gattii  is not well-established. A few studies have shown that symptoms of C. gattii infection can appear between two and thirteen months after breathing in the fungus, with an average of approximately six to seven months.4,5 However, for some people it may take even longer for symptoms to show up after breathing in the fungus; for example, one person didn’t develop symptoms until three years after traveling to an area where the fungus is known to live.6

References

  1. Chen S, Sorrell T, Nimmo G, Speed B, Currie B, Ellis D, et al. Epidemiology and host- and variety-dependent characteristics of infection due to Cryptococcus neoformans in Australia and New Zealand. Australasian Cryptococcal Study Group. Clin Infect Dis. 2000 Aug;31(2):499-508.
  2. Harris JR, Lockhart SR, Debess E, Marsden-Haug N, Goldoft M, Wohrle R, et al. Cryptococcus gattii in the United States: clinical aspects of infection with an emerging pathogen. Clin Infect Dis. 2011 Dec;53(12):1188-95.
  3. Galanis E, Macdougall L, Kidd S, Morshed M. Epidemiology of Cryptococcus gattii, British Columbia, Canada, 1999-2007. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Feb;16(2):251-7.
  4. MacDougall L, Fyfe M. Emergence of Cryptococcus gattii in a novel environment provides clues to its incubation period. J Clin Microbiol. 2006 May;44(5):1851-2.
  5. Georgi A, Schneemann M, Tintelnot K, Calligaris-Maibach RC, Meyer S, Weber R, et al. Cryptococcus gattii meningoencephalitis in an immunocompetent person 13 months after exposure. Infection. 2009 Aug;37(4):370-3.
  6. Johannson K, Huston S, Mody C, Davidson W. Unique Features Of Cryptococcus Gattii Pneumonia - A Prolonged Incubation Period In An Immunocompetent Host. American Thoracic Society; 2011. p. A5706-A.
 
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