Cryptococcus gattii, No Longer an Accidental Pathogen?
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- Springer, D.J., Phadke, S., Billmyre, R.B. et al. Curr Fungal Infect Rep (2012) 6: 245. doi:10.1007/s12281-012-0111-0
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Cryptococcus gattii is an environmentally occurring pathogen that is responsible for causing cryptococcosis marked by pneumonia and meningoencephalitis in humans and animals. C. gattii can form long-term associations with trees and soil resulting in the production of infectious propagules (spores and desiccated yeast). The ever-expanding number of reports of clinical and environmental isolation of C. gattii in temperate climates strongly imply that C. gattii occurs worldwide. The key ability of yeast and spores to enter, survive, multiply, and exit host cells, and to infect immunocompetent hosts distinguishes C. gattii as a primary pathogen and suggests evolution of C. gattii pathogenesis as a result of interaction with plants and other organisms in its environmental niche. Here we summarize the historical literature on C. gattii and recent literature supporting the worldwide occurrence of the primary pathogen C. gattii.