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C. neoformans cryptococcosis

A photomicrograph of Cryptococcus neoformans using a light India ink staining preparation. Credit: CDC/ Dr. Leanor Haley.

A photomicrograph of Cryptococcus neoformans using a light India ink staining preparation.

Cryptococcosis is an infection caused by fungi that belong to the genus Cryptococcus. There are over 30 different species of Cryptococcus, but two species – Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii – cause nearly all cryptococcal infections in humans and animals. Although many people who develop cryptococcosis have weakened immune systems, some are previously healthy.

C. neoformans can be found in soil throughout the world. People at risk can become infected after inhaling microscopic, airborne fungal spores. Sometimes these spores cause symptoms of a lung infection, but other times there are no symptoms at all. In people with weakened immune systems, the fungus can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious disease.

For other Fungal topics, visit the Fungal Homepage.

C. neoformans cryptococcosis Topics

A green icon of a pencil and note pad.Definition

What is C. neoformans cryptococcosis?…

A green icon of a stethoscope.Symptoms

Shortness of breath, cough, and fever…

A green icon representing risk and preventionRisk & Prevention

Who gets it and how it can be prevented…

A green icon of a petri dish.Sources of Infection

Inhalation of spores from the environment…

A green icon of a microscope.Diagnosis & Testing

See your health care provider, sample tissue, clinical diagnosis…

A green icon representing prescription drugs.Treatment & Outcomes

Antifungal treatment, mortality rate…

A green icon of the caduceus.Screening

Combating the global burden of cryptococcal meningitis

A green icon of a horizontal bar chart.Statistics

Incidence, surveillance…

A green icon with a magnifying glass and foot print.Training resources

Materials for implementing cryptococcal screening…

A green icon of a open textbook.Additional Information

Articles, publications…


Cryptococcus in Persons Living with HIV

Cryptococcal meningitis is a leading cause of death among persons living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. CDC is helping to start programs that will reduce the number of deaths from this infection. Until now, diagnosis and treatment guidelines have not been targeted at resource-limited countries. CDC has partnered with WHO and leading international experts to develop new guidelines [PDF - 44 pages] , which target the realities faced in resource-limited settings, and are the first to recommend screening for cryptococcal disease.


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