Symptoms and Signs of Cryptococcosis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 2/17/2022

Doctor's Notes on Cryptococcosis

Cryptococcosis is a disease caused by fungi from the genus Cryptococcus that infects humans and animals, usually by inhalation of the fungi. Signs and symptoms of cryptococcosis are 

Serious signs and symptoms develop if the brain is infected; they include

The major causes of cryptococcosis are infection of the lungs and/or the brain by Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii. These fungi cause infection in the lungs after inhalation. Lung infections can lead to brain infections. Risk factors include inhaling contaminated bird droppings (for example, pigeons) and from some plant parts from Eucalyptus, Red River gum and forest red gum trees.

What are the treatments for cryptococcosis?

The treatments for cryptococcosis may vary with severity and the location of the infection. For example, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Anyone with asymptomatic diagnosed infections or if the person has mild-to-moderate lung infections – use antifungal medication (usually fluconazole) for at least 6 months
  • Individuals with severe lung infections or central nervous system infections - use antifungal medication (usually fluconazole in combination with amphotericin B), followed by fluconazole for several months
  • Type, dose and duration may differ if you are pregnant or a child is infected or if your immune system is compromised; in such special situations, infectious disease specialists are often consulted for detailed treatment protocols.
  • Surgery – sometimes used to remove fungal growths (cryptococcomas)

Your doctors can design detailed treatments for your condition.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.