Cryptococcus (Cryptococcosis)

How soon do symptoms appear?

Incubation times vary for infection due to Cryptococcus species. Symptoms from C. gattii infection are estimated to begin anywhere from 2-11 months after exposure. The incubation time for C. neoformans is not known.

If I have symptoms, should I see my doctor?

Yes, it is very important to seek immediate medical evaluation.

How is a cryptococcal infection diagnosed?

The diagnosis can be made by microscopic examination and/or culture of tissue or body fluids such as blood, cerebrospinal fluid and sputum. The cryptococcal antigen test is a rapid test that can be performed on blood and/or on cerebrospinal fluid to make the diagnosis.

How are cryptococcal infections 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.

How can cryptococcal infections be prevented?

C. neoformans is commonly spread by bird droppings, especially pigeon droppings. People who have weakened immune systems should avoid areas contaminated by bird droppings, and should avoid contact with birds. There are no formal recommendations for the prevention of C. gattii infection.


U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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