Medical Definition of Cryptococcus gattii

Cryptococcus gattii: A rare form of yeast (fungus) that is airborne and may be acquired by inhalation. Although typically found in tropical and subtropical areas, C. gattii has become endemic in the Pacific Northwest, with multiple infections having been reported on Vancouver Island and in mainland British Columbia. Several reports of infections in the northwestern U.S. have also been noted in recent years. The disease caused by C. gattii is similar to cryptococcosis caused by the more common fungus Cryptococcus neoformans and typically results in pneumonia and potential spread to distant organs such as the brain and nervous system. C. gattii has caused disease in people with suppressed immune systems as well as those with a normally functioning immune system. Infection with C. gattii is still a rare condition, and only about 50 cases have been reported in the northwestern U.S. since 2004.


Fyfe, M., L. MacDougall, M. Romney, M. Starr, M. Pearce, S. Mak, et al. "Cryptococcus gattii Infections on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada: Emergence of a Tropical Fungus in a Temperate Climate." Can Commun Dis Rep 34 (2008): 1-13.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Preveniton. "Epidemiology of Cryptococcus gattii, British Columbia, Canada, 1999-2007." Feb. 26, 2010. <>.

Last Editorial Review: 9/14/2016

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