Cryptococcosis is a systemic mycosis caused by the ­encapsulated yeast Cryptococcus neoformans, an organism found in soil and often associated with pigeon droppings. Infection involves most frequently the lungs or central nervous system and, less frequently, the blood, skin, skeletal system, and prostate. Because the incidence of cryptococcosis is greatly increased in immunocompromised patients, especially among patients with AIDS or organ transplant recipients, cryptococcosis is considered an opportunistic fungal infection. Treatment of cryptococcosis is based on anatomic site of disease, severity of disease, and the underlying immune status of the patient. Cryptococcal meningitis is treated with induction therapy of amphotericin B with or without flucytosine, followed by a prolonged course of fluconazole. For pulmonary disease alone, fluconazole is effective therapy in most patients. Chronic maintenance therapy with fluconazole may be required in HIV-infected patients or transplant patients who remain immunosuppressed.


Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome Cryptococcal Meningitis Central Nervous System Infection Cryptococcal Antigen Cryptococcal Infection 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Infectious Diseases, Birmingham VA Medical CenterUniversity of Alabama at Birmingham School of MedicineBirminghamUSA

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