Symptoms and Signs of Cryptococcosis

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

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 fever, malaise, pleuritic chest pain, cough, hemoptysis (blood in the sputum), headaches, vision changes, skin changes, nausea and/or vomiting. Serious signs and symptoms develop if the brain is infected; they include mental status changes (lethargy, confusion), meningitis, seizures, coma and death.

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.

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