Cryptococcus gattii: Clinical Importance and Emergence in North America
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Cryptococcus gattii is an emerging fungal pathogen in the Pacific Northwest of North America, where it has caused more than 50 human infections since its emergence in 2004. Among residents of British Columbia, where the disease emerged in 1999 on Vancouver Island, many infections have occurred in immunocompetent persons. The cause for the emergence is currently unknown. The pathogenic profile of Cryptococcus gattii in North American patients appears to be different from that seen previously for C. gattii and from the profile of infection among patients with Cryptococcus neoformans. Treatment duration and the need for patient follow-up may be different between patients infected with C. gattii and C. neoformans. For this reason, physicians treating atypical patients with Cryptococcal spp infection, particularly HIV-uninfected patients, should obtain a travel history and obtain a species identity for Cryptococcus isolates.
KeywordsCryptococcus Cryptococcus gattii Cryptococcus neoformans Fungal epidemiology Pacific Northwest Fungal infection Cryptococcoma
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