Symptoms of C. gattii Infection

A woman coughing

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

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.13

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 C. gattii and other types of Cryptococcus after it spreads from the lungs to the brain, but patients can have a brain infection without a lung infection. The symptoms of cryptococcal meningitis include:

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

C. gattii infection can also cause cryptococcomas (fungal growths) to develop in the lungs, skin, brain or other organs, causing symptoms in the affected 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 infection is not well-established. Symptoms of C. gattii infection can appear between two and 13 months after breathing in the fungus, with an average of approximately six to seven months.4,5 However, people can develop an infection as soon as two7 weeks or as late as three years after breathing in the fungus.68

 

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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 Groupexternal icon. 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 pathogenexternal icon. 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, 1999-2007external icon. 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 periodexternal icon. 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 exposureexternal icon. 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 hostexternal icon. American Thoracic Society; 2011. p. A5706-A.
  7. Tsunemi T, Kamata T, Fumimura Y, Watanabe M, Yamawaki M, Saito Y, et al. Immunohistochemical diagnosis of Cryptococcus neoformans var. gattii infection in chronic meningoencephalitis: the first case in Japanexternal icon. Intern Med. 2001 Dec.
  8. Johannson KA, Huston SM, Mody CH, Davidson W. Cryptococcus gattii pneumoniaexternal icon. CMAJ. 2012 Sep 4.