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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers cryptococcosis, especially when caused by C. gattii, as an emerging infectious disease because of the recent increased occurrence in the Pacific Northwest. Consequently, to prepare for better ways to identify and treat this disease, ongoing research is increasing. To date, there is no vaccine available for humans. However, researchers have developed an experimental vaccine from the fungal carbohydrate capsule that can protect mice from infection, so a vaccine for humans may be developed in the near future. Several laboratories are trying to develop quick, easy, and accurate methods to distinguish the various subtypes of C. neoformans and C. gattii. Other environmental scientists are trying to determine the extent of spread of C. gattii in the U.S. and other countries to determine if environmental changes are influencing (increasing) the areas where Cryptococcus can survive and become endemic. A few researchers are examining the virulence of various strains as some strains (C. gattii, VGllc) may cause more serious infections and deaths than other strains.
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