St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Cryptococcosis

    Cryptococcosis is infection with Cryptococcus neoformans fungus.

    Causes

    Cryptococcus neoformans is the fungus that causes this disease. It is usually found in soil. If you breathe it in, itinfects your lungs.The infection may go away on its own, remain in the lungs only, or spread throughout the body (disseminate).

    This infection is most often seen in people with a weakened immune system, such as those with HIV infection, taking high doses of corticosteroid medications, cancer chemotherapy, or who have Hodgkin's disease.

    Cryptococcus is one of the most common life-threatening fungal infections in people with AIDS.

    Symptoms

    • Blurred vision or double vision
    • Bone pain or tenderness of the breastbone
    • Chest pain
    • Confusion
    • Cough -- dry
    • Fatigue
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Skin rash, including pinpoint red spots (petechiae), ulcers, or other skin lesions
    • Sweating -- unusual, excessive at night
    • Swollen glands
    • Unintentional weight loss

    People with a normal immune system may have no symptoms at all.

    The infection may spread to the brain in people who have a weakened immune system. Neurological (brain) symptoms start slowly. Most people with this infection have swelling and irritation of the brain and spinal cord when they are diagnosed.

    Exams and Tests

    Physical examination may reveal:

    • Abnormal breath sounds
    • Fast heart rate
    • Fever
    • Mental status changes
    • Stiff neck

    Tests that may be done include:

    • Blood culture
    • CT scan of the head
    • Sputum culture and stain
    • Lung biopsy
    • Bronchoscopy
    • Spinal tap to obtain a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
    • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture and other tests to check for signs of infection
    • Chest x-ray
    • Cryptococcal antigen test (looks for a certain molecule that the Cryptococcus fungus can shed into the blood)

    Treatment

    Some infections require no treatment. Even so, there should be regular check-ups for a full year to make sure the infection has not spread. If there are lung lesions or the disease spreads, antifungal medications are prescribed. These drugs may need to be taken for a long time.

    Medications include:

    • Amphotericin B
    • Flucytosine
    • Fluconazole

    Amphotericin B can have severe side effects.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Central nervous system involvement often causes death or leads to permanent damage.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call your health care provider if you develop symptoms of cryptococcosis, especially if you have a weakened immune system.

    Prevention

    References

    Kauffman CA. Cryptococcosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 344.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Cryptococcus, cutaneous ...

      illustration

    • Cryptococcosis on the fo...

      illustration

      • Cryptococcus, cutaneous ...

        illustration

      • Cryptococcosis on the fo...

        illustration

      Tests for Cryptococcosis

        Review Date: 8/14/2012

        Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc. Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
        adam.com

        A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


        Back  |  Top
        About Us
        Contact Us
        History
        Mission
        Locations & Directions
        Quality Reports
        Annual Reports
        Honors & Awards
        Community Health Needs
        Assessment

        Newsroom
        Services
        Brain & Spine
        Cancer
        Heart
        Maternity
        Orthopedics
        Pulmonary
        Sleep Medicine
        Urgent Care
        Women's Services
        All Services
        Patients & Visitors
        Locations & Directions
        Find a Physician
        Tour St. Luke's
        Patient & Visitor Information
        Contact Us
        Payment Options
        Financial Assistance
        Send a Card
        Mammogram Appointments
        Health Tools
        My Personal Health
        mystlukes
        Spirit of Women
        Health Information & Tools
        Clinical Trials
        Health Risk Assessments
        Employer Programs -
        Passport to Wellness

        Classes & Events
        Classes & Events
        Spirit of Women
        Donate & Volunteer
        Giving Opportunities
        Volunteer
        Physicians & Employees
        For Physicians
        Remote Access
        Medical Residency Information
        Pharmacy Residency Information
        Physician CPOE Training
        Careers
        Careers
        St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
        Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile